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Conscientiousness, Protective Behavioral Strategies, and Alcohol Use: Testing for Mediated Effects

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Education Volume: 39 Issue: 3 Dated: 2009 Pages: 273-287
Matthew P. Martens; Michael A. Karakashian; Kristie M. Fleming; Roneferiti M. Fowler; E. Suzanne Hatchett; M. Dolores Cimini
Date Published
This study investigated whether self-reported use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) mediated the relationship between conscientiousness and both alcohol use and alcohol-related problems.
Using data from a sample of college student drinkers, the study found that protective behavioral strategies (PBS) did mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and both alcohol use and alcohol-related problems, with higher levels of conscientiousness being associated with greater PBS use and thus associated with less alcohol use and alcohol-related problems. These findings have significance for clinicians and alcohol researchers working in the area of college drinking prevention. Data were collected from a sample of 186 undergraduate students attending a large, public university in the Northeast who were voluntarily participating in a project that involved completing an alcohol-related intervention. Participants completed the daily drinking questionnaire along with two other measures of typical alcohol consumption. The Rutgers Alcohol Problems Index (RAPI) was used as a self-report measure of alcohol-related problems; the Protective Behavioral Strategies Scale (PBSS) was used to assess cognitive-behavioral strategies designed to decrease high-risk behaviors; and the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) was used to measure the Big-Five personality domains. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to determine if PBS mediated the relationship between conscientiousness and alcohol use/alcohol-related problems. Limitations of the study are discussed along with recommendations for future research. 2 figures, 1 table, and 41 references