Internalizing and Externalizing Dimensions and Alcohol Use in First Time DWI Offenders: Indirect Effects Through Coping Self-Efficacy

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Abstract

Using cross-sectional data and structural equation modeling, we evaluated whether coping self-efficacy to abstain from drinking in various situations accounted for the relationship between internalizing (depression, anxiety) and externalizing (aggression, low socialization) dimensions with problematic alcohol use in 292 first-time DWI offenders. Results indicated that an internalizing dimension indirectly predicted problematic alcohol use through coping self-efficacy in negative situations only, whereas an externalizing dimension indirectly predicted problematic alcohol use through coping self-efficacy in positive situations only. These findings support two potential pathways to problematic drinking behavior among DWI offenders and suggest that internalizing and externalizing dimensions may differentially predict high risk drinking situations due to one's inability to abstain in specific situations.

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