Perkins, H. Wesley. 1999. "Stress-Motivated Drinking in Collegiate and Post-Collegiate Young Adulthood: Life Course and Gender Patterns." Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Vol. 60, No. 2, pp 219-227.
Objective: This study examines stress-motivated drinking and its potential contribution to alcohol problems for young adults in college and subsequent postcollegiate contexts, specifically focusing on the simultaneous influences of life course stage and gender. Method: Data are drawn from a research project on health and well-being among multiple cohorts of college students and graduates from an undergraduate institution of higher education. Representative samples of students were surveyed in 1982 (n = 1,514), 1987 (n = 659), and 1991 (n = 926). Surveys were administered to graduates in 1987 (graduating classes of 79, 82, 85; n = 1,151). Using this cross-sectional and longitudinal database, developmental aging effects are tested while checking for historical cohort and period effects. Results: Stress-motivated drinking is somewhat more prevalent in the undergraduate years as are other drinking motivations, but stress-related reasons for drinking are relatively more prominent among motivations and relatively more problematic in terms of consumption levels and consequences in succeeding years after college. The prominence of stress-related drinking and its increased negative effects begin sooner for women than for men. Conclusion: Moving from college to stages of postcollegiate young adulthood is associated with substantial decreases in alcohol consumption and related problems. Drinking for stress reduction, however, becomes increasingly prominent as the primary motivation for the drinking that does occur in postcollegiate life and this drinking motivation also becomes increasingly problematic in terms of negative consequences of alcohol use as each cohort ages. The problematic prominence of stress-motivated drinking is notable at earlier developmental points in this trajectory for women. (J. Stud. Alcohol 60: 219-227, 1999)