To Drink or Not to Drink: Is That the Question? Examining Correspondence and Predictive Validity of Morning Drinking Intentions for Young Adults’ Drinking Behaviors and Consequences

Jimikaye B. Courtney, Michael A. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Theory of Planned Behavior suggests that intentions are significant and proximal determinants of behavior. The purpose of this study was to test the predictive validity of drinking intentions for subsequent same-day drinking behaviors and negative consequences. Regularly drinking young adults (N = 222, 21–29 years, 84% undergraduates) completed an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol and wore an alcohol monitor for five consecutive 24-h periods spanning 6 days (Wednesday–Monday). Each morning, participants reported their drinking intentions for the day and their previous day’s alcohol consumption and the number of negative drinking consequences. Multilevel models showed that, at the within-person level, on days when people reported intending to drink, to get drunk, or to drink more than usual, they had higher odds of drinking, consumed more drinks, and had higher peak transdermal alcohol concentrations later that day. However, drinking occurred on 28% of days without drinking intentions, suggesting intentions were an imperfect signal for future drinking behavior. Morning drinking intentions also predicted experiencing more negative consequences, even after controlling for alcohol consumption. On average, young adults’ morning-reported drinking-related intentions predicted increased odds of same-day drinking behavior and alcohol-related consequences. However, drinking frequently occurred on days participants did not intend to drink, suggesting that focusing only on drinking intention days will result in many missed prevention opportunities. Together, these results suggest the need for additional research to increase the predictive value of drinking intention assessments and for prevention interventions aimed at helping individuals follow through on their intentions not to drink.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-336
Number of pages15
JournalPrevention Science
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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