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DISSERTATION ABSTRACT

Self-regulation and women undergraduate binge and non-binge drinkers
by Nidecker, Melissa Faley, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2007

The present study examined the generalizability of the idea found in prior studies that women who drink heavily are likely to have problems with affect regulation. This study looked specifically at college women, and while assuming that there would be differences in affect dysregulation (AD) among those who binge drink and those who do not, also investigated whether executive cognitive functioning (ECF) could play a role in distinguishing these two groups. AD and ECF were considered as variables involved in the construct of self-regulation. Peer drinking, alcohol expectancies, coping strategies, and personality were also viewed as factors involved in self-regulation and were investigated as well. Participants were 123 women aged 18 to 24 who were enrolled at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and reported having at least one drink in the past month in addition to at least one in the past year. Data was collected from self-report questionnaires on self-regulation variables, and a structured interview that assessed drinking frequencies, quantities, and patterns. Based on the interview, participants were divided into two groups: those who had binged (4 or more drinks on one occasion) in the past month and over 6 times in the past year, and those who had not binged in the past month but may have 6 or less times in the past year. Results showed that AD was not a significant predictor of binge drinking. However, peer drinking and having positive alcohol expectancies did predict group membership. Subanalyses using current bingers, past bingers, and never bingers (N = 150) showed that in addition to peer drinking and expectancies, ECF, coping, and personality were significant in distinguishing drinking groups. Rather than using alcohol for affect regulation, results highlight alternative reasons college women may have for excessive drinking.