Impulsivity and alcohol demand in relation to combined alcohol and caffeine use.
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Problematic alcohol use among college students continues to be a prominent concern in the United States, including the growing trend of consuming caffeinated alcoholic beverages (CABs). Epidemiologically, CAB use is associated with incremental risks from drinking, although these relationships could be due to common predisposing factors rather than specifically due to CABs. This study investigated the relationship between CAB use, alcohol misuse, and person-level characteristics, including impulsive personality traits, delayed reward discounting, and behavioral economic demand for alcohol use. Participants were 273 regularly drinking undergraduate students. Frequency of CAB use was assessed over the past month. A multidimensional assessment of impulsivity included the UPPS-P questionnaire, which measures positive and negative urgency, premeditation (lack thereof), perseverance (lack thereof), and sensation seeking (Lynam, Smith, Whiteside, & Cyders, 2007), and a validated questionnaire-based measure of delayed reward discounting. Demand was assessed via a hypothetical alcohol purchase task. Frequency of CAB consumption was significantly higher in men than in women and was also associated with higher impulsivity on the majority of the UPPS-P subscales, steeper delayed reward discounting, and greater demand for alcohol. Significant correlations between CAB use and both alcohol demand and lack of premeditation remained present after including level of alcohol misuse in partial correlations. In a hierarchical linear regression incorporating demographic, demand, and impulsivity variables, CAB frequency continued to be a significant predictor of hazardous alcohol use. These results suggest that although there are significant associations between CAB consumption and gender, impulsivity, and alcohol demand, CAB use continues to be associated with alcohol misuse after controlling for these variables.
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