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Thesis ABSTRACT

Applying the Transtheoretical Model of Intentional Behavior Change to the initiation of bnge drinking in a college sample
by Bellino, Lori E., M.A., University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2000

Results of recent studies suggest that many college students engage in heavy episodic or binge drinking. Binge drinking is associated with a host of negative health and behavioral consequences for this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the validity of applying the Transtheoretical Model of Intentional Behavior Change to the initiation of binge drinking in a sample of college students. Cognitive process variables (i.e., alcohol expectancies, decisional balance, temptation to drink), alcohol use variables (i.e., negative consequences of use, symptoms of alcohol use disorders), and personality characteristics (i.e., Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, Extraversion) that have been correlated with heavy alcohol use were examined. Results indicated that the majority of subjects were classified as in either the Precontemplation, Action, or Maintenance stage for the initiation of binge drinking. Results also showed that subjects in Action and Maintenance for binge drinking reported significantly more Social Facilitation alcohol expectancies, pros of drinking, temptation to drink, negative consequences of use, and symptoms of alcohol use disorders compared to Precontemplators. Subjects in Maintenance also reported significantly more Sexual Enhancement alcohol expectancies and fewer cons of drinking compared to Precontemplators, as well as more symptoms of alcohol use disorders compared to subjects in Action. Personality factors accounted for a surprisingly small amount of variance in alcohol use and binge drinking frequency. Conscientiousness was, however, a significant predictor of total alcohol use and frequency of binge drinking episodes for subjects in Action and Maintenance. These findings provide some support for applying the Transtheoretical Model of Change to the initiation of binge drinking.