Background: Although the majority of research on partner drinking styles has examined married couples, dating partners may influence one another's problem behaviors including alcohol use. Objectives: This study identified patterns of at-risk alcohol use in college women and their dating partners using a person-centered statistical approach (i.e., latent profile analysis). Methods: Participants were 286 college student women in dating relationships. They completed questionnaires regarding their own and their partners' drinking, alcohol use severity, intimate partner violence (IPV), relationship satisfaction, and relationship-specific alcohol expectancies. Data were collected in 2012 through 2013. Results: Results revealed three distinct, latent classes based on both partners' alcohol outcomes. The “Low-Risk” group (58%) consisted of non-heavy drinking partners. In the “High-Risk – Higher Men” class (27%), men drank more than women; however, both men and women were high-risk drinkers. The “High-Risk – Higher Women” group (15%) consisted of high-risk drinking partners but women consumed more alcohol than men. Both high-risk couple groups were more dissatisfied in their relationships and experienced more IPV, but held stronger beliefs about how alcohol influenced their relationship. Conclusions/Importance: Findings indicate that there are several distinct classes of dating couples that differ in relationship problems and beliefs about alcohol's impact on their relationship. Riskier couples differ in behaviors and alcohol-related beliefs from low-risk couples. These findings may inform the development of more efficacious alcohol interventions tailored toward high-risk drinking dating couples.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health