Degree Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

Major

Psychology

First Advisor

Loreto R. Prieto

Abstract

Alcohol use is consistently ranked as one of the leading health risk behaviors globally and is a risk for which college students are particularly susceptible. Previous research has demonstrated a link between attachment style and alcohol use, and Hunter and Maunder (2016) have proposed a model surrounding the impact of attachment insecurities on disease risk and burden. Within their model, they indicate the link between insecure attachment and alcohol use is made through affect regulation difficulties, claiming that alcohol use serves as an external regulator for those with internal difficulties regulating affect, the latter which is itself associated with insecure attachment styles. I tested these tenets of the Hunter and Maunder (2016) model in a sample of college students; specifically, the mediational role of affect regulation on the relation between attachment style and alcohol use.

Using generalized structural equation modeling, I examined the mediational role of emotional dysregulation in a sample of 453 college students, using four separate outcome variables: 1) frequency of alcohol use; 2) quantity of alcohol use; 3) frequency of heavy episodic drinking; and, 4) overall alcohol use. Across these models, results consistently demonstrated a stable relation between emotional dysregulation and both attachment avoidance and anxiety. However, the four alcohol use outcome variables were not significantly related to emotional dysregulation, attachment anxiety, nor attachment avoidance. No significant indirect effects of emotional dysregulation were found for insecure attachment styles on reported alcohol use, in any of the four models. My results stand in contrast with previous, well-established findings in the literature. I discuss the limitations associated with my study, as well as implications for future investigations and clinical work.

Copyright Owner

Dakota Joseph Kaiser

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

File Size

128 pages

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