Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Brad Donohue

Second Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Third Committee Member

Stephen Benning

Fourth Committee Member

Gabriele Wulf

Number of Pages



Intercollegiate athlete alcohol use, particularly in softball athletes, is higher compared to nonathletes and they experience greater alcohol-related consequences. Motivation to drink alcohol is a strong predictor of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in college students, including collegiate athletes. Drinking motives are reasons why people consume alcohol, including reasons that are specific to the context of athletics. Two dimensions underlie drinking motives: positively or negatively reinforcing motives and internal or external motives (Cox & Klinger, 1988). In this study the influence of sport-related and general drinking motives on alcohol use and negative alcohol-related consequences was examined in 721 collegiate softball athletes from 62 teams in the United States. Athlete drinking motives clusters were formed to better understand what cluster membership places athletes at highest risk for heavy drinking or negative consequences. Athletes completed surveys online including demographics information, the Athlete Drinking Scale (ADS; Martens, Watson, Royland, & Beck, 2005), the Drinking Motives Questionnaire-Revised (DMQ-R; Cooper, 1994; Cooper, Russell, Skinner, & Windle, 1992), alcohol consumption and binge drinking items, and the Rutgers Alcohol Problems Index (RAPI; White & Labouvie, 1989). ADS subscales included Positive Reinforcement, Team, and Sport-Related Coping. DMQ-R subscales included Social, Enhancement, and Coping. Multilevel modeling, accounting for age of alcohol use onset and competitive division, revealed that Positive Reinforcement motives were associated with more alcohol use, binge drinking, and alcohol use consequences. Social motives predicted alcohol use, but not binge drinking or consequences, whereas Enhancement motives predicted binge drinking and consequences, but not alcohol use. Coping motives were associated with more consequences, but not alcohol use or binge drinking. The more athletes endorsed Conformity motives, the less alcohol they consumed and the less negative consequences they experienced. Team and Sport-Related Coping motives were unrelated to alcohol use, binge drinking, and consequences. Notably, the between-team variance for alcohol use (26%), binge drinking (19%), and consequences (5%) were all significant, indicating team-level influences on drinking motives. A model-based cluster analysis of the seven drinking motives resulted in five clusters with three clusters comprised of moderate-level motives, one cluster with low motives, and one cluster with high motives. Overall, the clusters significantly predicted alcohol use, binge drinking, and negative consequences. The high motives cluster resulted in significantly higher binge drinking and consequences, compared to the other motive clusters. Implications for alcohol prevention programming are discussed in light of these results.


alcohol use; athletes; cluster analysis; drinking motives; negative consequences


Clinical Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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