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Suicidal ideation and drinking to cope among college binge drinkers

Addictive Behaviors
DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.03.027
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • College Students
  • Binge Drinking
  • Emotional Regulation


Abstract Suicidality among college students is associated with binge drinking and alcohol-related problems. Consistent with motivational models of alcohol use, drinking to cope (DTC) is a significant intervening variable in the association between suicidal ideation and alcohol use and problems among students. This study examined whether several factors shown to be associated with both suicidal ideation and DTC (i.e., impulsivity, mood regulation expectancies, and coping skills) account for the relationship between these variables, as well as the associations of depression and hopelessness with DTC. Participants were 109 emerging adult (18- to 25-year-old) college students who reported at least one episode of binge drinking during a typical month in the past year. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that while greater negative urgency and low negative mood regulation expectancies were significantly associated with DTC, suicidal ideation remained significantly associated with DTC, even when controlling for depression. Suicidal ideation showed a stronger association with DTC than either depression or hopelessness both before and after accounting for other variables. These findings suggest that suicidal ideation has a direct association with DTC, and that negative urgency and mood regulation expectancies may be useful treatments targets for reducing alcohol misuse among emerging adult students who experience suicidal ideation.

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