Drinking Refusal Self-Efficacy and Tension-Reduction Alcohol Expectancies Moderating the Relationship Between Generalized Anxiety and Drinking Behaviors in Young Adult Drinkers

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Despite the substantial comorbidity between generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD), little is known about contributing factors to this relationship. This lack of knowledge has limited the development of theoretical models explicating the interesting yet complex relationship between GAD and AUD. The current study examined the roles of generalized anxiety, tension-reduction alcohol expectancies, and drinking refusal self-efficacy in accounting for the variance of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences in a sample of young adult drinkers (N = 474; 18–25 years of age, median age 19, 66% female) from a large, urban Midwestern university. Results showed that generalized anxiety level interacted with both tension-reduction alcohol expectancies and drinking refusal self-efficacy to predict alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences. Findings support the assessment of both alcohol-related consequences and alcohol consumption, and highlight the importance of drinking refusal self-efficacy, which is a currently underexamined variable. Study results also enhance the knowledge about the underlining mechanisms of GAD and AUD comorbidity, which facilitates the development of an empirically based theoretical paradigm for their relationship.

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