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Etiological models of problematic alcohol consumption among Francophone college students: Personality, Temporality and Motivation
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Introduction: In the interest of positively impacting alcohol consumption among college students, we studied determinants of consumption behaviors within an etiological framework. Personality traits would be associated with alcohol consumption, but the association would be mediated by other more proximal variables. Drinking motives are theorized to be the most proximal predictive factor of alcohol consumption through which all other distal factors exert their influence. There has been a recent spark of interest in “time perspective” meaning the organization of experience into temporal frames (past, present, future). Some have theorized that time perspectives would stem from personality traits, whereas others theorized that time perspective would give rise to motivated behavior. As time perspective has been viewed as a situational-dispositional construct, we advanced the hypothesis they would be etiologically situated between personality and motivation. Methods: Students living in France or in Québec were administered questionnaires online. Measures included Big 5 personality, time perspective, temporal competency, drinking motives and problematic alcohol consumption. Our main aim was to draw up multiple parallel mediator models reflecting different etiological relationships. In study 1, personality traits led to alcohol use through drinking motives. In study 2, personality traits led to alcohol consumption through temporalities. In study 3, temporalities led to drinking behaviors through drinking motives. In study 4, these results were taken collectively in order to derive and test hypotheses relating serial mediation (personality, temporality, drinking motives, alcohol consumption). Results: Cultural differences were identified in study 1. French students drank alcohol in larger quantities than those in Canada, but Canadians drank with a higher frequency. Canadians scored higher on openness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and extraversion in comparison to the French, whereas the French scored higher on specific drinking motives (coping-depression, 6 conformity, social). There were indirect effects of personality traits on alcohol consumption through drinking motives. Every motive, except coping-anxiety, was identified as a significant mediator, and all traits led to alcohol consumption in part through drinking motives. In study 2 we used regressions to identify temporalities that were best associated with drinking behaviors: anticipation, temporal rupture, past negative and present hedonist. We explored their relationships with personality traits and confirmed our hypothesis that traits would lead to alcohol consumption through specific temporalities. In the third study, specific drinking motives explained the relationship between temporalities and alcohol consumption. The fourth study compiled positive results from studies 1-3 in a result matrix that was then used to generate a hypothesis matrix about serial mediational relationships. We found that nearly all hypotheses grounded in sufficient logical assumptions were true. We also proposed hypotheses that implied that we must take into account the full serial chain in order for a part of the chain to yield positive results and found that 40% of such relationships were significant. Discussion: Understanding specific etiological pathways leading up to problematic alcohol consumption could aide practitioners and policy makers to positively impact drinking behaviors among students in Canada or in France. We found that the reasons why people drink alcohol best explained drinking behaviors. Personality traits would be related to alcohol consumption but mostly just because they led to drinking motives. However, before personality traits develop into drinking motives, they would give rise to specific temporalities. As our study advanced the existent literature on the processes leading up to drinking behaviors, we may be able to better foresee among which students problems will develop and prevent the onset or the aggravation of problematic alcohol use through emerging adulthood. Key words : alcohol, student, France, Québec, personality, temporality, drinking motives, mediation
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