Examining the Relationship Between Alcohol‐Energy Drink Risk Profiles and High‐Risk Drinking Behaviors

Department of Biobehavioral Health , The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.21). 03/2013; 37(8). DOI: 10.1111/acer.12102
Source: PubMed


The mixing of alcohol and energy drinks (AMEDs) is a trend among college students associated with higher rates of heavy episodic drinking and negative alcohol-related consequences. The goals of this study were to take a person-centered approach to identify distinct risk profiles of college students based on AMED-specific constructs (expectancies, attitudes, and norms) and examine longitudinal associations between AMED use, drinking, and consequences.
A random sample of incoming freshmen (n = 387, 59% female) completed measures of AMED use, AMED-specific expectancies, attitudes, and normative beliefs, and drinking quantity and alcohol-related consequences. Data were collected at 2 occasions: spring semester of freshmen year and fall semester of sophomore year.
Latent profile analysis identified 4 subgroups of individuals: occasional AMED, anti-AMED, pro-AMED, and strong peer influence. Individuals in the pro-AMED group reported the most AMED use, drinking, and consequences. There was a unique association between profile membership and AMED use, even after controlling for drinking.
Findings highlighted the importance of AMED-specific expectancies, attitudes, and norms. The unique association between AMED risk profiles and AMED use suggests AMED use is a distinct behavior that could be targeted by AMED-specific messages included in existing brief interventions for alcohol use.

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    ABSTRACT: Individuals who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) have been identified as higher-risk drinkers, as they are more prone to drink increased amounts of alcohol and experience more consequences compared with non-AmED users. The present study examined differential AmED use and alcohol consumption simultaneously as multidimensional risk behaviors among AmED users. Students who identified as drinkers and current AmED users (n = 195) completed a Web-based survey related to their AmED consumption and typical drinking patterns. Latent profile analysis was used to classify participants into distinct AmED user profiles. Profiles were then compared on AmED-based cognitive factors (e.g., expectancies, norms) and alcohol-related consequences. Four AmED user profiles emerged: moderate drinker, low proportion AmED users (ML); heavy drinker, low proportion AmED users (HL); moderate drinker, high proportion AmED users (MH); and heavy drinker, high proportion AmED users (HH). Membership in higher-proportion AmED groups was associated with more positive AmED expectancies and perceived norms. No significant differences were observed in the amount of consequences endorsed by HL and HHs; however, MHs experienced significantly more alcohol-related physical consequences than MLs. This suggests that increased use of AmEDs is associated with increased risk of experiencing alcohol-related consequences for moderate drinkers. Screening students for AmED use could be used as a novel, inexpensive tool to identify high-risk drinkers for targeted interventions aimed at reducing alcohol consumption and related problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
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    ABSTRACT: Growing evidence suggests that the consumption of caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CAB) may be riskier than alcohol alone. Efforts to identify patterns of CAB use and the correlates of such drinking patterns could further our conceptualization of and intervention for this health issue. Consequently, the current study aimed to (1) identify distinct classes of CAB users, (2) examine differences between classes on measures of alcohol and caffeine problems, and (3) compare distinct classes of CAB users on caffeine and alcohol outcome expectancies. Participants were 583 (31% men) undergraduate students from a psychology research pool. Latent profile analysis models were derived using four indicators: CAB use quantity, CAB use frequency, alcohol use quantity, and alcohol use frequency. Finding revealed four classes of drinkers: High Alcohol/High CAB (6.00%), High Alcohol/Moderate CAB (5.15%), High Alcohol/Low CAB (22.99%), and Low Alcohol/Low CAB (65.87%). The Low Alcohol/Low CAB class reported the lowest relative levels of caffeine dependence symptoms, caffeine withdrawal, alcohol use problems, and heavy episodic drinking frequency. Further, results indicated differential expectancy endorsement based on use profiles. CAB users in the High Alcohol/Low CAB class endorsed more positive alcohol expectancies than the Low Alcohol/Low CAB group. Those in the High Alcohol/High CAB class endorsed stronger withdrawal symptom caffeine expectancies than all other classes. Inclusion of substance-specific expectancies into larger theoretical frameworks in future work of CAB use may be beneficial. Findings may inform intervention efforts for those at greatest risk related to CAB consumption.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · Addictive behaviors
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    ABSTRACT: With the worldwide consumption of energy drinks increasing in recent years, concerns have been raised both in the scientific community and among the general public about the health effects of these products. Recent studies provide data on consumption patterns in Europe; however, more research is needed to determine the potential for adverse health effects related to the increasing consumption of energy drinks, particularly among young people. A review of the literature was conducted to identify published articles that examined the health risks, consequences, and policies related to energy drink consumption. The health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content, but more research is needed that evaluates the long-term effects of consuming common energy drink ingredients. The evidence indicating adverse health effects due to the consumption of energy drinks with alcohol is growing. The risks of heavy consumption of energy drinks among young people have largely gone unaddressed and are poised to become a significant public health problem in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Frontiers in Public Health
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