Background: The aim of the present study was to test promising constructs (decisional balance and drinking identity) and their interaction with gender as predictors of risky college drinking. We expected that, consistent with previous work, drinking identity would be positively associated with alcohol consumption and problems. We further expected that drinking identity would be more strongly related to outcomes among individuals scoring low in decisional balance. Additionally, we expect the relationship between drinking identity and alcohol behavior to vary as a function of decisional balance. Methods: Participants included 329 undergraduates (M= 23.11; SD = 5.63; 74.47% female) who met heavy drinking criteria (defined as women who consumed 4 or more drinks per occasion and men who consumed 5 or more drinks per occasion) and completed an online survey comprised of self-report measures. Results: Decisional balance was negatively correlated with both drinking and problems, which partially supported expectations. As expected, drinking identity was positively correlated with drinking and problems. A two-way interaction emerged between drinking identity and decisional balance regarding problems, indicating that drinking identity was associated with more problems, especially among those lower in decisional balance. A three-way interaction between drinking identity, decisional balance, and gender emerged regarding problems such that drinking identity was associated with more problems for those lower in decisional balance and this effect was stronger among men. Discussion: Findings lend support to the perspective that decisional balance, drinking identity, and gender are all influential factors that are associated with the experience of alcohol problems.
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