Self-consciousness as a moderator of the effect of social drinking motives on alcohol use
Foster, Dawn W.
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This study evaluated self-consciousness as a moderator of the relationship between social drinking motives and alcohol use. Participants included 243 undergraduate students who reported alcohol use, alcohol-related problems, self-consciousness, and social motives. We expected that social drinking motives, private self-consciousness, and public self-consciousness would be positively associated with drinking and that this relationship would be moderated by self-consciousness. Specifically, we expected this relationship to be stronger for people lower in private self-consciousness, based on decreased awareness about their internal states. In addition, we expected that the relationship between social motives and drinking would be stronger among those who were higher in public self-consciousness, given their focus on the self as a social object. Consistent with expectations, the associations between social motives and peak drinking and drinks per week were more strongly associated among those lower in private self-consciousness. However, inconsistent with expectations, the relationship between social motives and drinking was stronger among those who were lower, rather than higher, in public self-consciousness. Overall implications of these research findings extend previous research emphasizing the importance of considering social influences in etiology and prevention of drinking. Moreover, while social motives are a consistent predictor of drinking among young adults, this is not universally true. This study contributes to social cognitive literature seeking to understand and identify individual factors related to drinking and their application to the adaptation of existing intervention approaches.