Alcohol-induced blackouts, subjective intoxication, and motivation to decrease drinking: Prospective examination of the transition out of college

Elise N. Marino, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: We prospectively examined whether subjective intoxication serves as a risk factor for experiencing alcohol-induced blackouts. We then examined whether subjective intoxication and/or blackouts predicted motivation to decrease their drinking, and whether this motivation to change would promote future changes in drinking behavior. Method: Participants (N = 1854, 62.1% female, 53.2% Caucasian, M age = 21.8) were recruited the summer prior to matriculating into a large, public university to complete a 6-year longitudinal study. Self-reported motivation to decrease their drinking behavior, their frequency of blackouts, quantity of alcohol consumption, and subjective intoxication (i.e., feeling drunk) were assessed annually during the transition out of college (Years 4–6). Results: In a cross-lagged model, subjective intoxication (i.e., feeling drunk) prospectively predicted experiencing blackouts (p < 0.001). Controlling for both objective (e.g., quantity) and subjective intoxication, blackouts at Year 4 predicted greater motivation to decrease drinking behavior at Year 5 (p < 0.01), but this motivation did not predict less quantity of alcohol use by Year 6 (p = 0.076). Conclusions: Subjective intoxication is a robust predictor of blackouts across time. Additionally, blackouts are modest, developmentally-limited predictors of motivation to change drinking behavior, but blackouts do not predict future behavior change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume80
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Behavior change
  • Blackouts
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Motivation to change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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