BACKGROUND: Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Levels of alcohol consumption among students and young people are particularly high. Time perspective describes the varying value individuals place on outcomes in the present and future. In general, it has been found that individuals prefer to receive a gain today rather than in the future. There is evidence that time perspective is associated with addictive health behaviours, including alcoholism and cigarette smoking, but less evidence of its association with non-addictive, but hazardous, levels of alcohol consumption. The objective was to determine if there is an association between time perspective and hazardous alcohol consumption. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey using a self-completion questionnaire was administered to willing undergraduate students attending a convenience sample of lectures in two university faculties. Hazardous alcohol consumption was defined as a score of >/=8 on the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and time perspective was measured using the Consideration of Future Consequences Scale (CFCS). Participants were 322 undergraduate university students in two faculties at a university in Northern England, UK. RESULTS: Hazardous alcohol consumption was reported by 264 (82%) respondents. After controlling for potential confounding by socio-demographic variables, greater consideration of future consequences was associated with lower odds of reporting hazardous drinking [odds ratio = 0.28; 95% confidence interval 0.15-0.54]. CONCLUSION: Interventions aimed at increasing future orientated time perspective may be effective in decreasing hazardous alcohol consumption in students.
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