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Similarly, stressors were much more likely to elicit problem drinking among individuals who were both high

in avoidance coping and positive AOE, than amongst individuals who were only high in avoidance coping.

(Cooper et al. , 1992).

Purpose of the present study

The purpose of the present study is to extend and modify the work of Cooper et al. (1992) in an attempt

to clarify the role of stress in alcohol consumption, with respect to the interactional stressor vulnerability

model of drinking. Specifically, the Cooper et al. (1992) study was limited to the investigation of gender,

coping, and expectancies in stress-related drinking. Given that Family history of alcoholism (FH) has been

shown to play a significant role in drinking (i.e., Cotton, 1979; Goodwin, 1988; Hill, Nord, & Blow 1992;

Ohannessian & Hesselbrock, 1993), it is appealing to investigate the role of FH as an additional vulnerability

factor [as suggested by Cooper et al. (1992)]. Moreover, the Cooper et al. (1992) study conceptualizes

gender, coping, and expectancies as moderators of stress-related drinking. Given that expectancies directly

predict alcohol consumption (as discussed previously), a modified interactional model is proposed such that

gender, coping, and family history play an indirect moderational role in predicting stress-related drinking;

whereas expectancies play a direct mediational role as conceptualized by Figure 1 below.

Figure 1. Proposed Modified Stressor Vulnerability Model of Drinking

Gender

STRESS Expectancies DRINKING

Coping

Family History

Method

Subjects

All subjects in this study were undergraduate psychology students from a large Canadian university. The

initial sample consisted of 84 volunteers. For the purpose of this study, only those subjects who drank at

least once a weak were included. A total of 65 out of 84 subjects (77.4%), aged 19 years and over,

successfully met this criterion. The sample consisted of a roughly equal number of 31males (47.7%) and 34

females (52.3%), who were predominantly Caucasian (64.6%). More than three-quarters (75.4%) of the

subjects were in their first year of studies, and were mostly employed part-time (60.0%). Nearly three-

quarters (72.3%) of those who were employed received an annual income smaller than $ 10,000. The mean

age at which subjects first consumed alcohol was 14.7, whereas the mean age at which they began to drink

regularly was 17.9. Subjects total weekly consumption of alcohol averaged 11.1 drinks.

Measures

Measures used in the present study were embedded in a general assessment battery that was a part of a

larger research project. For the purpose of the present study, the following measures, administered in a fixed

order, were employed to assess the variables of interest.

Weekly Alcohol Consumption. Subjects were given a chart which contained the days of the week. For

each day they were instructed to indicate the number of standard alcoholic drinks and the amount of time it

would take to consume these drinks in a typical week. A standard alcohol drink was defined as either a

regular size can/bottle of beer, 1.5 ounce shot of liquor, or a 5 ounce glass of wine. Subjects who drank less

than once a month were instructed to skip this section. The total number of drinks in one week was summed

and used as the dependent variable.

Adapted Short Michigan Alcoholism Screening Test (Adapted SMAST). The adapted SMAST (Sher &

Descutner, 1986) is a 13 item self-report questionnaire designed to measure family history of alcoholism.

Specifically, the questionnaire assesses the extent of an individual’s mother’s and father’s alcohol abuse.

Assessment is based on a two point scale consisting of 0=no and 1=yes. For the purpose of the present

study only 10 items were used, and the mother/father answer categories were extended to biological mother/

father and step or adoptive mother/father.

Comprehensive Effects of Alcohol (CEOA). The CEOA (Fromme, Stroot, & Kaplan, 1993) is a 38 item

self-report questionnaire designed to assess alcohol outcome expectancies and their subjective valence. It is

composed of seven expectancy scales, four positive (sociability, tension-reduction, liquid-courage, and

sexuality) and three negative (cognitive-behavioral impairment, risk and aggression, and self perception).

Expectancy assessment is based on a four point scale from 1=disagree to 4=agree. The valence of these

expectancies is assessed on a five point scale from 1=bad to 5=good. Both items and instructions were

carefully worded to ensure that the elicited expectancies were neither dose-specific, nor situation specific.

Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). The PSS (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983) is a 14 item self-report

questionnaire designed to assess the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful. An

equal number of 7 positive and 7 negative statements make up the questionnaire. Assessment is based on a

five point scale from 0=never to 4=very often. Scores are obtained by reversing the scores on the seven

positive items (i.e., 0=4, 1=3, 2=2, etc.), and then summing across all 14 items.

COPE. The COPE (Carver et al., 1989) is a 53 item self-report questionnaire designed to assess

individual coping dispositions. The questionnaire is comprised of 14 scales which are categorized into three

coping styles: Problem-Focused Coping (Active coping, Planning, Suppression of competing activities,

Seeking social support for instrumental reasons, and Restraint coping), Emotion-Focused Coping

(Acceptance, Seeking social support for emotional reasons, Positive reinterpretation, Turning to religion,

and Focus on and venting of emotion), and Less than Useful Coping (Denial, Behavioral Disengagement,

and Mental Disengagement). For the purpose of the present study the Alcohol-drug disengagement scale

was excluded from these categories, and was treated as a separate category called Drinking to Cope.

Assessment is based on a four point scale from1=I usually don’t do this at all to 4=I usually do this a lot.

Both items and instructions were worded such that dispositional , rather than situational, styles of coping

were assessed.

Procedure

All participants were recruited from undergraduate psychology courses at York University. The

questionnaire was administered in a classroom setting. Participants completed the questionnaire in a

group format of mixed sex ranging in size from 10 to 30 individuals. Informed consent was obtained

from all participants, and a phone number was provided in case any concerns arose. The complete

questionnaire required approximately 40 minutes to administer. Respondents were compensated for their

time by being entered in a lottery with a 1 in 50 chance of winning $ 50.00.

Results

Correlational Analyses

Table 1 presents zero-order correlations, computed for all relevant study variables. Conceptually

variables may be grouped into one of five categories: weekly drinking (variable 1), perceived stress

(variable 2), family history of alcoholism (variable 3), coping variables (Variables 4-7), and expectancy

variables (variables 8-21). Examining the pattern of correlations between these variables suggests several

conclusions.

First, family history of alcoholism was neither significantly correlated with perceived stress nor with

weekly drinking, suggesting that family history of alcoholism is not important in stress-induced drinking.

Second, several coping variables were significantly correlated with either weekly drinking and/or

perceived stress. Specifically, drinking to cope was significantly positively correlated with both weekly

drinking (r = .420) and perceived stress (r = .310), less useful coping was significantly positively correlated

(r = .674) with stress, and problem focused coping was significantly negatively correlated (r = -.327) with

weekly drinking. These findings suggest that coping variables play an important role in stress-related

drinking.

Finally, only one expectancy variable, the valence expectancy for cognitive and behavioral impairment,

was significantly correlated (r = .340) with weekly drinking, but not with perceived stress. However, several

expectancy variables were significantly positively correlated (.357 findings suggest that expectancies are more likely be a distal, rather than a proximal predictor of stress-

related drinking.

Estimating the Model

Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were employed to test the model depicted in Figure 1. Table 2

contains summary statistics for the stepwise regression used to identify the predictor variables of weekly

drinking. As can be seen from Table 2, gender emerged as the most important predictor variable accounting

for over 28% of the variance. The coping variables of drinking to cope and problem-focused drinking were

also significant, and accounted for an additional 12% and 8% of the variance, respectively. Further multiple

regression analyses were used to determine which variables predicted drinking to cope, and problem-focused

coping, respectively. Table 3 shows that the expectancy for risk accounted for over 26% of the variance in

predicting drinking to cope, with the expectancy for tension and perceived stress accounting for an

additional 16%. Table 4 shows that emotion-focused coping accounted for over 34% of the variance in

predicting problem-focused drinking, with the expectancy valence for self perception accounting for an

additional 8%. Figure 2 summarizes the direct effects estimated in the foregoing series of multiple

regression analyses.

Table 1. Zero-Order Correlations Among Relevant Study Variables

______________________________________________________________________________________

Measure 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1. Weekly Drinking — -.143 -.072 -.327* -.232 -.206 .420** .016 .240

2. Perceived Stress — .001 .198 .138 .674** .310* -.069 -.074

3. Family History of Alcoholism — -.186 -.111 -.002 -.211 -.003 -.128

4. Problem-Focused Coping — .491** .170 -.044 -.132 -.112

5. Emotion-Focused Coping — .166 .062 .111 .107

6. Less Useful Coping — .223 -.073 -.017

7. Drinking to Cope — .234 .412**

Alcohol Expectancy Outcomes

8. Sociability — .262

9. Tension Reduction –

10. Liquid Courage

11. Sexuality

12. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment

13. Risk & Aggression

14. Self Perception

Alcohol Expectancy Valence

15. Sociability

16. Tension Reduction

17. Liquid Courage

18. Sexuality

19. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment

20. Risk & Aggression

21. Self Perception

* p Table 1. (Continued) Zero-Order Correlations Among Relevant Study Variables

______________________________________________________________________________________

Measure 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

1. Weekly Drinking .116 -.008 -.141 .173 -.037 -.083 .185 -.062 .194

2. Perceived Stress -.041 -.069 .133 .213 .039 .044 .196 .058 -.038

3. Family History of Alcoholism -.052 .018 -.082 -.121 .069 .040 .089 .028 .007

4. Problem-Focused Coping .035 .012 .175 .141 .218 -.097 -.075 .052 -.035

5. Emotion-Focused Coping .044 .295* .218 .154 .151 -.230 -.084 -.053 -.055

6. Less Useful Coping -.178 -.006 .238 .066 .059 .016 .096 -.025 .072

7. Drinking to Cope .371* .225 -.017 .517** -.009 .066 .357* .115 .178

Alcohol Expectancy Outcomes

8. Sociability .697** .488** -.120 .433** -.160 .569** .469** .174 .289

9. Tension Reduction .233 .263 .041 .180 .006 .202 .282 .132 .222

10. Liquid Courage — .509** .032 .622** .046 .433** .436** .381* .245

11. Sexuality — .260 .522** .276 .118 .161 -.025 .149

12. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment — .221 .354* -.227 -.241 -.171 -.061

13. Risk & Aggression — .236 .158 .304* .106 -.001

14. Self Perception — -.335* -.175 -.089 -.247

Alcohol Expectancy Valence

15. Sociability — .510** .499**.490**

16. Tension Reduction — .412**.409**

17. Liquid Courage — .541**

18. Sexuality —

19. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment

20. Risk & Aggression

21. Self Perception

* p Table 1. (Continued) Zero-Order Correlations Among Relevant Study Variables

______________________________________________________________________________________

Measure 19 20 21

1. Weekly Drinking .340* .026 .197

2. Perceived Stress -.164 .065 -.139

3. Family History of Alcoholism -.229 .045 .009

4. Problem-Focused Coping -.289 -.053 -.357*

5. Emotion-focused Coping -.122 -.123 -.135

6. Less Useful Coping -.262 -.054 -.322

7. Drinking to Cope .119 .166 -.054

Alcohol Expectancy Outcomes

8. Sociability .141 .170 .135

9. Tension Reduction .196 .166 .015

10. Liquid Courage .123 .278 .138

11. Sexuality -.271 -.152 -.160

12. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment -.396** -.217 -.097

13. Risk & Aggression -.038 -.019 -.138

14. Self Perception -.363* -.274 -.220

Alcohol Expectancy Valence

15. Sociability .249 .482** .113

16. Tension Reduction .150 .227 -.131

17. Liquid Courage .375* .717** .219

18. Sexuality .162 .515** .181

19. Cognitive & Behavioral Impairment — .544** .539**

20. Risk & Aggression — .517**

21. Self Perception –

* p Table 2. Stepwise Regression Summary Statistics for Weekly Drinking

Step

Variable

Beta In

Multiple R

R-Squared

(R-Squared

1

gender

-.5312

.5312

.2821

.2821*

2

drinking to cope



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