Discrimination and alcohol-related problems among college students: A prospective examination of mediating effects

Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, William Corbin, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Background: Discrimination is a risk factor for health-risk behaviors, including alcohol abuse. Far less is known about the mechanisms through which discrimination leads to alcohol-related problems, particularly during high-risk developmental periods such as young adulthood. Methods: The present study tested a mediation model using prospective data from a large, diverse sample of 1539 college students. This model hypothesized that discrimination would be associated with established cognitive (positive alcohol expectancies) and affective (negative affect and coping motives) risk factors for alcohol-related problems, which would account for the prospective association between discrimination and alcohol problems. Results: Structural equation modeling indicated that discrimination was associated cross-sectionally with negative affect and more coping motives for drinking, but not with greater alcohol expectancies. Coping motives mediated the prospective relationship between discrimination and alcohol-related problems. Additionally, results indicated significant indirect effects from discrimination to alcohol-related problems through negative affect and coping motives. These associations were evident for multiple groups confronting status-based discrimination, including women, racial/ethnic minorities, and lesbian/gay/bisexual individuals. Conclusions: This study identified potential affective mechanisms linking discrimination to alcohol-related problems. Results suggest several avenues for prevention and intervention efforts with individuals from socially disadvantaged groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Alcohol-related problems
  • College students
  • Coping motives
  • Discrimination
  • Negative affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Discrimination and alcohol-related problems among college students: A prospective examination of mediating effects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this