Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology
The combination of eating restrictions and alcohol use is a prevalent problem on college campuses. Some students engage in eating restrictions prior to drinking to limit their overall caloric intake or to enhance intoxication effects. To date, limited research suggests that drinking-related eating restriction behaviors are associated with additional and unique health risks relative to high-risk drinking or eating restrictions alone. As such, additional research examining this unique, risky set of behaviors is warranted. Consequently, the present study aimed to address gaps in the literature by further examining the risks associated with drinking-related eating restrictions and testing trait factors related to use of these behaviors. Specifically, the study used a baseline plus 14-day daily diary design to: (1) examine the between-subjects association between drinking-related eating restrictions and alcohol outcomes, (2) examine the between-person characteristics contributing to drinking-related eating restrictions, (3) examine the within-subjects association between drinking-related eating restrictions and same-episode alcohol outcomes, (4) test trait characteristics as moderators to the daily associations between drinking-related eating restrictions and same-episode alcohol outcomes, and (5) explore whether motivations for using drinking-related eating restriction behaviors impact same-episode alcohol outcomes. Participants were 227 (180 women) moderate drinking college students. The mean age was 20.64 (SD = 2.01) years. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire and 14 days of daily surveys. Results found between-level effects of drinking-related eating restrictions, such that typical restrictors exhibited higher alcohol outcomes than non-restrictors. Multilevel modeling found within-person effects of drinking-related eating restrictions, such that participants consumed more alcohol, were more likely to binge drink, and were more likely to experience a problem on restricting days. Lower self-control was found as an indicator of typical drinking-related eating restrictions. Self-control also moderated the daily association between drinking-related eating restrictions and binge drinking, such that individuals with low self-control were more likely to binge on days they restricted. Sex was also supported as a moderator, such that women consumed more alcohol and experienced more problems on days they restricted, whereas men did not. Despite these findings, emotion regulation and perceived weight were not supported as relevant constructs to drinking-related eating restrictions in any analyses. Further, the reported reasons for restricting did not have a significant effect on same-day alcohol outcomes. Overall, this study was the first to examine both between- and within-person effects of drinking-related eating restrictions in a daily diary design with a sample of women and men. Findings supported unique risks associated with drinking-related eating restrictions, above and beyond risks of high-quantity drinking. Self-control and sex also emerge as important constructs in understanding who uses drinking-related eating restrictions and the effect restrictions have on alcohol outcomes. Future research can further elucidate the predictors and risks associated with drinking-related eating restrictions.
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"Alcohol Use and Drinking-Related Eating Restriction Behaviors Among College Students"
(2020). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, Psychology, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/s3x0-rj81