Awareness of health risks linked with excessive alcohol consumption appears to have little influence on how much some people drink. Compensatory health beliefs (CHBs), in which the consequences of unhealthy behaviour are considered to be neutralised by additional healthy behaviours, are one way of justifying poor health choices. Currently, the role of CHBs within the context of drinking behaviour is not well understood. This research examined associations between alcohol specific compensatory health beliefs (ACH-Beliefs) and behaviours (ACH-Behaviours), alcohol consumption and alcohol specific self-efficacy (ASE), via an online survey completed by 249 participants, aged 18 + years (63.1% female; M age = 41.62 years; SD = 14.80). Higher ACH-Beliefs were associated with increases in ACH-Behaviours. While both predicted alcohol consumption, a greater proportion of variance was explained by ACH-Behaviours. ASE was a significant mediator of those relationships, suggesting that those with higher ASE may be better equipped to regulate drinking behaviour. Recommendations for future research include measuring both CHBs and behaviours within an experimental design, and further investigation of related cognitions such as compensatory behaviour intentions. Alcohol misuse interventions may wish to consider the potential roles of CHBs and behaviours in facilitating maladaptive coping strategies, and how addressing these may reduce harms.
Matley, Fiona A.I.
Davies, Emma L.
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Psychology, Social Work and Public Health
Year of publication: 2017Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-08-14