Abstract: Adolescents' Positive Subjective Evaluations of Drinking Mediate the Relationship Between Social Self-Control and Alcohol Use (Society for Prevention Research 24th Annual Meeting)

306 Adolescents' Positive Subjective Evaluations of Drinking Mediate the Relationship Between Social Self-Control and Alcohol Use

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Amber M. Anthenien, MS, Doctoral Candidate, University of Houston, Houston, TX
Nathaniel R. Riggs, PhD, Associate Professor, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Steven Y Sussman, PhD, Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Adam M. Leventhal, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: Youth with little social self-control (SSC), who act impulsively in social situations and seek to fulfill urges for reprisal or self-promotion, are at increased risk for alcohol use. Positive evaluations (PE) (e.g., feeling social, sexually appealing) and negative evaluations (NE) (e.g., feeling sick, difficulty concentrating) of alcohol’s effects predict adolescents’ alcohol use. Youth with little SSC may consume alcohol to experience the positive effects of alcohol or avoid drinking to prevent the negative effects of alcohol in order to facilitate social interaction. The current study hypothesized that adolescents’ PE and NE would mediate the relationship between SSC and alcohol use.

Method:  Ninth graders (N = 3,293, MAge = 14.08, 53% female) from 10 high schools participated from 2012 to 2013. Youth completed three surveys, 6 months apart over 12 months. SSC was measured with the 10-item social self-control scale (SSCS; Sussman et al., 2003) at Time 1. PE and NE of the effects of alcohol use were measured using the 12-item Modified Lyons Battery for Subjective Effects (MLBSE; Zeigler et al., 2010) at Time 2. Adolescents reported their quantity of alcohol use during the previous 30 days at Time 3.

Results: To account for nesting within schools and extreme non-normality of alcohol use, zero-inflated generalized linear mixed models for alcohol use were estimated. Lower SSC was associated with increases in alcohol consumption (RR = 1.07, 95% CI[1.04, 1.09]). Lower SSC was also associated with greater PE (β = .03, 95% CI[0.00, 0.06), and greater NE (β = .07, 95% CI[0.04, 0.10). With subjective evaluations and SSC estimated in the same model, only PE predicted increased number of drinks (RR = 1.16, 95% CI[0.06, 1.26]); SSC was not a significant predictor of alcohol use when controlling for PE (p = .17) and NE (p = .20). The indirect effects for PE were indicated to be greater than zero (p = .03), according to a Sobel test, but not for NE (p = .62).

Conclusions: The mediating effect of PE on the relationship between SSC and drinking may reflect these youth’s attempts to lubricate social interaction and cope with the repercussions of their negative actions toward peers.  Although adolescents with low SSC may experience negative outcomes at a higher rate than their peers, potentially as a result of their irrational and aggressive behavior, NE did not predict alcohol use in the mediation model; additional mediators or moderators of the associations between SSC and alcohol use should be explored. Implications for adolescent substance use prevention include: 1) increasing teens’ abilities to engage in effective social interaction, and 2) altering PE of alcohol use.