A Daily Diary Study of Drinking and Nondrinking Days in Nonstudent Alcohol Users

Cathy Lau-Barraco, Ashley N. Linden-Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Emerging adults with lower educational attainment are at higher long-term risk for problematic drinking and alcohol use disorders. Efforts to gain a more in-depth understanding of the drinking habits of nonstudent emerging adults are critical to reduce disparities and to shed light on targets of intervention for this vulnerable group. Objectives: The current investigation aimed to: (1) provide a description of the daily drinking habits of nonstudent emerging adult drinkers using a 14-day diary method, and (2) examine nondrinking days by assessing their reasons for not drinking as well as strategies used to avoid drinking. Methods: Participants were 27 (55.5% women) emerging adult drinkers recruited from the community. Results: On drinking days, multilevel results indicated that heavier alcohol use was positively associated with level of subjective intoxication and alcohol-related problems. Men reported higher alcohol use outcomes than women across all alcohol use indicators. Regarding nonconsumptive days, the most frequently endorsed reasons for not drinking largely reflected an internal motivation, while the least endorsed reasons were related to external constraints. Pertaining to strategies used to avoid drinking, the most frequently endorsed response related to choosing alternative enjoyable activities. Diary compliance with the 14-day protocol was 90.9% for at least one daily survey. Conclusion/Importance: The present investigation represents one of the first to examine drinking behaviors using a daily diary approach with nonstudent emerging adult drinkers. Study findings filled an important gap regarding our understanding of the context of drinking of an at-risk and understudied group of drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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