Longitudinal patterns of alcohol mixed with energy drink use among college students and their associations with risky drinking and problems

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9 Scopus citations


Objective: The consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) is a form of risky drinking among college students, a population already in danger of heavy drinking and associated consequences. The goals of the current longitudinal study were to (a) identify types of AmED users between the first and second year of college and (b) examine differences among these groups in rates of highrisk drinking and consequences over time. Method: A random sample of college student drinkers (n = 1,710; 57.7% female) completed baseline and 6-month follow-up measures assessing alcohol-related behaviors. Results: AmED use was endorsed by 40% of participants during the course of the study. As anticipated, four distinct groups of AmED users were identified (nonusers, initiators, discontinuers, and continuous users) and were significantly different from one another on drinking and consequence outcomes. Further, significant Time × Group interaction effects were observed for drinking and overall consequences. Generally, across all outcomes and time points, nonusers reported the lowest rates of drinking and consequences, whereas continuous users consistently reported the highest rates of drinking and consequences. Students who initiated AmED use during the course of the study also reported an abrupt increase in alcohol use and reported consequences. Conclusions: Findings suggest students who consistently engage in and initiate AmED use also engage in riskier drinking behaviors and experience higher rates of consequences. Interventions that specifically target AmED use may be warranted and have the potential to reduce alcohol-related consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-396
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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