An examination of heavy drinking, depressed mood, drinking related constructs, and consequences among high-risk college students using a person-centered approach

Irene M. Geisner, Kimberly Mallett, Lindsey Varvil-Weld, Sarah Ackerman, Bradley M. Trager, Rob Turrisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Introduction Research has identified college students who experience depressed mood and consume alcohol are at an increased risk for experiencing alcohol problems. The present study identified profiles of differential alcohol use, depression, key psychosocial indicators of drinking (e.g., normative perceptions) and examined the relationship between these profiles and alcohol-related consequences. Method Students with a history of risky drinking and elevated depressed mood (n = 311; 62.4% female) completed a web-based survey assessing typical and peak drinking, depressive symptoms, descriptive norms, drinking to cope motives, protective behavioral strategies, and alcohol-related consequences. RESULTS: Latent profile analysis was used to classify participants into distinct profiles focusing on alcohol use patterns and level of depressed mood and drinking related constructs. Profiles were then compared based on their association with reported rates of alcohol-related consequences. Four profiles emerged: 1) Mild Depression, Heavy Drinkers; 2) Mild Depression, Severe Drinkers; 3) Moderate Depression, Heavy Drinkers; and 4) Moderate Depression, Severe Drinkers. Findings revealed significant differences between the four profiles on both risky drinking and alcohol-related consequences. Conclusion These findings suggest the importance of assessing and addressing depressive symptoms among college students in order to reduce rates of risky drinking and alcohol-related consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-29
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Mar 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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