Mental and Social Health Impacts the Use of Protective Behavioral Strategies in Reducing Risky Drinking and Alcohol Consequences


The present study is the first to examine the moderating effects of mental and social health status in the relationship between protective behavioral strategies utilized to reduce high-risk drinking (e.g., alternating alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks or avoiding drinking games) and alcohol outcomes (drinking variables and alcohol-related negative consequences) among first-year college females ( N = 128). Findings revealed that protective behaviors were particularly effective in reducing both alcohol consumption and related risks among participants reporting lower mental health as compared to higher mental health. Further, participants with higher social health who utilized protective behaviors consumed significantly fewer maximum drinks per occasion than did peers who also employed protective behaviors but reported lower social health. Explanation of findings and implications for campus intervention initiatives are discussed.