Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs








Objective: In college student samples, the association between depressive symptoms and alcohol-related problems has been found to be mediated by drinking-to-cope motives. Mindfulness-based interventions suggest that mindfulness may attenuate the conditioned response of using substances in response to negative emotional states, and trait mindfulness has been shown to be a protective factor associated with experiencing fewer alcohol-related problems. In the present study, we examined trait mindfulness as a moderator of the indirect associations of depressive symptoms on alcohol-related problems via drinking-to-cope motives. Method: Participants were undergraduate students at a large, southeastern university in the United States who drank at least once in the previous month (n = 448). Participants completed an online survey regarding their personal mental health, coping strategies, trait mindfulness, and alcohol use behaviors. The majority of participants were female (n = 302; 67.4%), identified as being either White non Hispanic (n = 213; 47.5%) or African American (n = 119; 26.6%), and reported a mean age of 22.74 (SD = 6.81) years. Further, 110 (25%) participants reported having a previous and/or current experience with mindfulness mediation. Results: As hypothesized, the indirect effects from depressive symptoms to alcohol-related problems via drinking-to-cope motives were weaker among individuals reporting higher levels of mindfulness than among individuals reporting lower and average levels of mindfulness. Conclusions: The present study suggests a possible mechanism through which mindfulness-based interventions may be efficacious among college students: decoupling the associations between depressive symptoms and drinking-to-cope motives.


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Original Publication Citation

Bravo, A. J., Pearson, M. R., Stevens, L. E., & Henson, J. M. (2016). Depressive symptoms and alcohol-related problems among college students: A moderated-mediated model of mindfulness and drinking to cope. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(4), 661-666. doi:10.15288/jsad.2016.77.661


0000-0002-4630-6449 (Bravo)