Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Psychology
Laura J Finan
Given that young adults have the highest prevalence rates of excessive drinking and associated adverse outcomes (CDC, 2019), it is important to examine factors that contribute to this health risk behavior. Previous research suggests that subclinical narcissistic grandiosity is related to alcohol use, whereas both subclinical narcissistic grandiosity and vulnerability are both independently related to negative alcohol-related outcomes. In addition, all four drinking motives (Cooper et al., 1994) are independently related to alcohol use, and negative alcohol-related outcomes (Kramer et al., 2019; Kuntsche et al., 2005; Wahesh et at., 2015). However, it is unclear how subclinical narcissistic traits and drinking motives work together to contribute to student alcohol use and related negative outcomes. Therefore, this study examined the unique and moderating roles of all four drinking motives (i.e., enhancement, coping, conformity, and social) on relations between subclinical narcissistic traits (i.e., grandiose, and vulnerable) and three alcohol use outcomes (i.e., past-month alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking frequency (HED), and negative alcohol-related outcomes experienced). Participants were undergraduate and graduate college students from a large, Midwestern university (N = 406; 81% female; Mage = 20.13, SD = 1.69; 10% Hispanic, 85% White). Using a cross-sectional design, I used survey methods to gather data on college student subclinical grandiosity and vulnerability traits, drinking motives, past-month alcohol use, HED frequency, and negative alcohol-related outcomes experienced. Controlling for gender, age, and ethnicity, Poisson regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between subclinical grandiosity and vulnerability, drinking motives, and the three identified alcohol outcomes. Results indicated that subclinical grandiose traits were positively associated with all three alcohol outcomes, whereas subclinical vulnerable traits were negatively associated with past-month alcohol use and HED frequency. In addition, enhancement motives, coping motives, and social motives were each positively associated with all three alcohol outcomes, whereas conformity motives were negatively associated to past-month alcohol use. Furthermore, enhancement, conformity, and social motives independently positively moderated the relation between subclinical grandiose traits with past-month use. Similarly, enhancement and social motives positively moderated the relation between subclinical grandiose traits and HED frequency. Conversely, each of the four drinking motives independently negatively moderated the relation between subclinical vulnerable traits and past-month alcohol use. Moreover, enhancement and social motives negatively moderated the relation between subclinical vulnerable traits and HED frequency. Contrary to initial hypotheses, none of the four drinking motives significantly interact with either subclinical grandiose or vulnerable traits in models predicting negative alcohol-related outcomes experienced. Findings illustrate that targeting motivations for alcohol use as well as addressing narcissistic personality traits may prove beneficial in therapeutic services and substance use prevention activities for young people, particularly in academic settings.
Solka, Jake Robert, "Narcissism and Alcohol Outcomes: The Role of Drinking Motives" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1577.