Journal Article

Drinking and mental health in middle adulthood : exploring the impact of wellbeing, mental health literacy, and drinking motives on risk of alcohol dependence


Objectives: Risky drinking is a concern among UK-based middle-aged adults. We aimed to explore the relationship between risky drinking, drinking motives, wellbeing, and mental health literacy (MHL). Method: Cross-sectional analysis of online survey data completed by 193 UK-based adults aged 40-65 who drank alcohol, incorporating the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT); Drinking Motives Questionnaire-Revised (DMQ-R); Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS); Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS) and demographic questions. Results: Coping, enhancement and conformity motives and gender significantly predicted higher AUDIT scores (measuring risky drinking). Enhancement motives were found to mediate the relationship between the self-help component of MHL and AUDIT scores, while coping motives mediated the association between wellbeing and AUDIT scores. Conclusion: Findings support research emphasising the influence of drinking motives on risky drinking and highlights how low wellbeing may interact with coping motives to explain risky drinking among middle-aged adults, particularly men. Interventions supporting individuals to understand the relationship between drinking motives and risky drinking, develop adaptive coping strategies, and address the causes of low wellbeing, may be beneficial. However, as the sample was 84% ethnically White, 64% women, 85% educated to at least undergraduate level, and reported a relatively high mean socioeconomic status (6.98 out of 10), the results may not generalise beyond these groups. Future research should use stratified sampling to increase generalisability, as well as exploring whether alcohol-specific, component-specific, or disorder-specific MHL is associated with risky drinking and wellbeing.

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Creery, Angela
Davies, Emma L.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2024
Date of RADAR deposit: 2024-02-13

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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