Which type of drinker are you?

September 8, 2006 at 1:31 am 13 comments

Empirical research from the past 15 years have distinguished four different motives for drinking among youths. Personality is the main influence for a person’s motive for drinking.

Enhancement motives: You drink to feel good, to get drunk, or just for its own sake. You desire intense and novel experiences, and others might say that you’re impulsive, extraverted, or aggressive. You drink with same-sex friends, at friends’ homes, and in bars.

Coping motives: You drink to cope with bad feelings, to relieve stress, or to avoid social rejection. You may be neurotic, disagreeable, or have negative views of yourself. You generally drink at home, but not at parties or with your family.

Social motives: You drink to be more sociable, or to help you enjoy a party. You’re a moderate drinker, and generally only drink in social contexts. You drink more frequently at mixed-sex parties, but not at home, in bars, or together with family members.

The “but not at home, in bars” part is a bit strange. One would think that social drinkers would be okay with drinking at bars.

Conformity motives: You drink because of pressure from peers, or to be liked. Specific personality or contextual traits were not found.

There are also differences in motives between genders as well as changes as a person ages.

…enhancement and coping motives, increase generally with age but are steeper among males than among females.

In adolescence and the college freshman years, indicating coping motives was found to be more strongly associated with excessive alcohol use among females than among males whereas after the freshman years and when entering the workplace in their mid-twenties men’s heavy drinking tallied more with coping motives than women’s heavy drinking.

The main targets for alcoholism prevention are people who drink for enhancement or coping motives because they often result in heavy drinking. Due to the changes in motives for age and gender, the authors recommend focusing on boys who drink for enhancement motives and girls who drink for coping motives.

Kuntsche, E., Knibbe, R., Gmel, G., & Engels, R. (2006). Who drinks and why? A review of socio-demographic, personality, and contextual issues behind the drinking motives in young people. Addictive Behaviors, 31(10), 1844-57.

Entry filed under: Alcohol, Psychology, Sociology.

Looking back at Search Queries from 1997 Why people archive

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jared  |  September 18, 2006 at 10:43 am

    “You drink more frequently at mixed-sex parties, but not at home, in bars, or together with family members.”

    Probably what that means is

    “You drink more frequently at mixed-sex parties, in bars, or together with family members, but not at home [alone].”

  • 2. TS  |  September 21, 2006 at 10:06 pm

    Uhhhm, where do we check ‘all of the above’ ?

    • 3. James  |  May 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

      You’ve got a major drinking problem, buddy.

  • 4. CTD  |  September 28, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    I fit that social drinker profile – I generally don’t drink in bars because I’m not extroverted enough to enjoy bar “insta-friends”. I will, once in a while, go to bars with friends – but the socializing part comes first in that case.

  • 5. zaranda  |  September 28, 2006 at 12:47 pm

    Depends what you mean by “drink”. Yes, I know all alcohol is “drink”. I love my glass of white wine before dinner (which I cook myself), a glass with dinner, and a glass afterwards. I hate getting tiddly, because I get a headache and palpitations. But this is a nightly habit, and all “experts” would say that I am … what?? A problem drinker? A habitual drinker? Something like that. Nope, I disagree. I am not young any more and I look younger than I am. (LOL! We all say that!) I drink my cold, cold wine because I am naturally tense and anxious, and I like to wind down a little at the end of the day. That’s basically all. I have a limit, which I keep to. I never drink in bars. Yuck to that.

  • 6. subtlelite  |  September 28, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    This is such a cool blog!!!
    keep it up

    Ill be reading all your posts

  • 7. Apoch  |  October 2, 2006 at 8:14 pm

    Eh, what about those of us who drink because we actually enjoy the flavours and varieties of beverages available? Or does this only count for people who are looking to massacre brain cells?

  • 8. localb  |  November 15, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    the only thing better than the given research are the people who actualy think they’re contributing by leaving comments. Like me!

    Zaranda, your coping. Apoch, you obviously have MORE than enough brain cells to massacre, why don’t ya? Your also coping. Subltelite, without you the creators of this site would probably just quit.

    And Duffy Brady knows all about it.

    rant off.

  • 9. himdel  |  December 27, 2006 at 9:54 am

    Myself, I’m definitely just a social drinker.
    The “but not at home, in bars” part is not really *that* strange if you think about it. What I think it means is that social drinkers are less likely to just go to a random bar (alone or maybe even with a friend) and buy a drink. But if a party happens to be in the bar, they do drink, of course.
    Anyway, great blog!

  • 10. Angee  |  April 25, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    Well I can relate to all of the above, I like to drink to feel good and get drunk, somtimes I drink to relieve stress, and most of the time I will drink at a bar or at home with my friends, but sometimes it depends who I am around in a social gathering.

  • 11. Fast Creative  |  May 29, 2009 at 4:32 am

    Brilliant list. It was all true. Thanks for the post!

  • 12. Crocodile Marketing: Recession proof your business!  |  September 2, 2009 at 1:22 am

    [quote]You drink to be more sociable, or to help you enjoy a party. You’re a moderate drinker, and generally only drink in social contexts. You drink more frequently at mixed-sex parties, but not at home, in bars, or together with family members.[/quote]

    This is me, a “social motive type of drinker”.
    Thanks for sharing those thoughts; it was too good to share.

  • 13. James  |  May 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I’ve never experienced being drunk in my life, thankfully. But I heard from my dad and other people that drinking isn’t entirely malevolent to our health. I’ve been told that drinking produces tranquility in the soul and enhances intimate socialization. I’m not saying alcohol abuse. Just a little shot here and there, you know, get to know one another by a drink.


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