Drinking Motives Mediate the Relationship Between Alcohol Reward Value and Alcohol Problems in Military Veterans


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Abstract

Elevated alcohol reward value (RV) has been linked to higher levels of drinking and alcohol-related consequences, and there is evidence that specific drinking motives may mediate the relationship between demand and problematic alcohol use in college students, making these variables potentially important indicators of risk for high RV and alcohol problems. The present study evaluated these relationships in a high-risk sample of military veterans. Heavy-drinking (N = 68) veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) completed the alcohol purchase task (APT) measure of alcohol demand (RV), and standard assessments of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and drinking motives. RV was associated with overall alcohol consequences, interpersonal alcohol consequences, social responsibility consequences and impulse control consequences. Mediation analyses indicated significant mediation of the relationships between RV and a number of problem subscales by social motives, coping-anxiety motives, coping-depression motives and enhancement motives. This suggests that individuals who have a high valuation of alcohol may have increased motivation to drink in social, mood-enhancement, and coping situations, resulting in increased alcohol-related consequences. Demand and drinking motives should be examined as potential indicators of need for intervention services and as treatment targets in veterans.

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