Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Clinical Psychology




College of Science & Mathematics


Chelsie M Young, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Angelo M. DiBello, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

David J. Angelone, Ph.D.

Committee Member 3

Bethany Raiff, Ph.D., BCBA-D


college students, drinking motives, heavy drinking, loneliness


College students--Alcohol use


Clinical Psychology


College is a pivotal time when many individuals begin to cultivate social relationships and engage in heavy drinking practices, resulting in alcohol-related consequences. Two potential factors associated with college drinking behaviors are loneliness and drinking motivation. Loneliness has mixed associations with drinking behaviors, meanwhile, drinking motives have clear associations with drinking behaviors. Prior research suggests that individuals experiencing loneliness are more likely to drink to cope, yet the existing research examining loneliness, drinking motives, and drinking behaviors is limited. Thus, this study aims to examine associations between 1) loneliness and drinking behaviors; 2) loneliness and drinking motives; 3) and whether drinking motives mediate associations between loneliness and drinking behaviors. A secondary data analysis was conducted, which included 1,107 college students aged 18-25 (55.06% women), with a mean age of 21.57 years. Results showed that, controlling for anxiety and depressive symptoms, loneliness is not associated with alcohol consumption nor alcohol-related consequences. It was also found that all four drinking motives were positively associated with loneliness. Lastly, conformity motivation was the sole significant mediator, such that those who were lonely and drank for conformity motives, had fewer drinks per week; however, had more alcohol-related consequences. These results aid in our understanding of the role of loneliness in drinking and can assist in creating future prevention interventions for heavy drinking in college students.