Title

College, Stress, and Alcohol Use: The Effects of Stressors on College Students

Presenter Information

Eileen TamFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Clinical Psychology

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Dr. Tracey Gracia-McCue

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

College educational attainment promotes participation in society and stability (Vera-Toscano, Rodrigues, & Costa, 2017). During college, both stress and alcohol use (AU) occur. College students report stress is the leading impediment to academic performance (Orr et al., 2009). Nationally, in the past month, more than half of college students have engaged in AU and almost a quarter were drunk. College drinking has health and academic consequences (e.g., missing class; lower grades). Building on previous research we examine not only the relations between AU and alcohol-related problems and exposure to stress (i.e., the presence of a stressful event), but also the intensity associated with stress (i.e., how stressful the event was). We hypothesized exposure to stressors would positively relate to AU and alcohol-related problems; the relations between intensity of stress and AU and problems were exploratory. College students (N = 624; Mage = 20.58, SD = 1.70; 52.72% female; 62.85% Caucasian), from 3 US universities, were given measures to assess both exposure to and intensity of stress, typical AU, and alcohol-related problems. Regression analyses indicated that exposure negatively related to past month total drinks per week (β = -0.1, p = .04); peak drinks (β = -0.1, p = .04); and typical number of drinks on the weekend (β =-0.1, p < .01). Stress intensity positively related to alcohol-related consequences (β = 0.20, p < .01) and weekend drinks (β = 0.1, p < .01). Findings indicate differential effects of stress on AU may exist and have implications for intervention.

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College, Stress, and Alcohol Use: The Effects of Stressors on College Students

College educational attainment promotes participation in society and stability (Vera-Toscano, Rodrigues, & Costa, 2017). During college, both stress and alcohol use (AU) occur. College students report stress is the leading impediment to academic performance (Orr et al., 2009). Nationally, in the past month, more than half of college students have engaged in AU and almost a quarter were drunk. College drinking has health and academic consequences (e.g., missing class; lower grades). Building on previous research we examine not only the relations between AU and alcohol-related problems and exposure to stress (i.e., the presence of a stressful event), but also the intensity associated with stress (i.e., how stressful the event was). We hypothesized exposure to stressors would positively relate to AU and alcohol-related problems; the relations between intensity of stress and AU and problems were exploratory. College students (N = 624; Mage = 20.58, SD = 1.70; 52.72% female; 62.85% Caucasian), from 3 US universities, were given measures to assess both exposure to and intensity of stress, typical AU, and alcohol-related problems. Regression analyses indicated that exposure negatively related to past month total drinks per week (β = -0.1, p = .04); peak drinks (β = -0.1, p = .04); and typical number of drinks on the weekend (β =-0.1, p < .01). Stress intensity positively related to alcohol-related consequences (β = 0.20, p < .01) and weekend drinks (β = 0.1, p < .01). Findings indicate differential effects of stress on AU may exist and have implications for intervention.