Objective: Previous research has found drinking restraint to be a risk factor for alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in normative populations, but has not tested these relations in high-risk populations. The current study tested whether drinking restraint predicted alcohol-related outcomes in the same way for high-risk and low-risk individuals and tested whether there was a quadratic effect of drinking restraint on alcohol-related outcomes. Method: Data from an ongoing longitudinal study of children of alcoholics (COAs; n = 189) and controls (n = 192) were collected at two time points 5 years apart. Results: The prospective findings extended previous cross-sectional literature by replicating the main effects of drinking restraint as a risk factor for subsequent drinking for controls. For COAs, however, higher levels of drinking restraint were associated with lower levels of later drinking. There was also a quadratic effect of drinking restraint in the prediction of alcohol dependence diagnoses, suggesting that those at the extreme levels of drinking restraint were least likely to develop alcohol dependence. Conclusions: The relation of drinking restraint to alcohol-related outcomes may be more complex than previously hypothesized because it may work in different directions for high- and low-risk individuals and may have a nonlinear relationship to diagnostic outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)