Alcohol use can become a problem for many people, and college students are particularly at risk for problematic drinking (O’Connor & Colder, 2005). Gray’s (1975) Biopsychological Theory of Personality (BIS/BAS) has been shown to be a predictor of problematic alcohol use. For example, O’Connor and Colder (2005) found that higher scores on the behavioral-approach-system (BAS) are related to maladaptive, coping-motivated drinking in first-year college students. However, it is unclear what role psychopathology may play in this relationship. Given this finding, the aim of the present study is to further investigate the link between BIS/BAS scores and alcohol use in first-year college students while controlling for psychopathology, using the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnosis of DSM-IV-TR (SCID). First-year college student participants (n=68) completed both the BIS/BAS questionnaire and the SCID interview, and were then asked to complete one diary entry per week throughout the fall semester reporting on alcohol use. A linear regression was used to test how BAS and SCID scores predicted substance use and to explore whether an interaction between BAS and SCID scores was meaningful. The results indicated that although BAS scores (β = -.05, p = .70) were not a significant predictor, SCID scores ( β = .27, p = .04 ) were associated with greater substance use (F(2,61) = 2.63, p = .08). BAS scores not being associated with alcohol use is inconsistent with the literature. This finding, along with SCID scores being predictive, indicates that further research should be done on the topic.
Dr. Karin G. Coifman
Ms. Pallavi Aurora
College students are at risk for problematic alcohol use. Prior research using the Biopsychological Model of Personality (BIS/BAS) has shown a link between BAS scores and maladaptive drinking in college students. It is unclear what role psychopathology plays in this relationship. The present study aims to evaluate the relationship between BIS/BAS and alcohol use in college students while controlling for psychopathology, using the SCID. Participants completed a BIS/BAS questionnaire and SCID interview, followed by weekly diaries reporting alcohol use throughout the fall semester. A linear regression was used to test how BAS and SCID scores predicted alcohol use. The results indicated BAS scores were not predictive of alcohol use, but SCID scores were. Because this is inconsistent with the literature, additional research should be done.