Adolescents involved with child welfare are at particular risk for the development of alcohol problems due to their histories of child maltreatment. Based on an emotion dysregulation-maladaptive coping model of alcohol problems, the current study explored whether drinking to cope with negative affect (coping motives) moderated the relationship between emotional distress (i.e., anxiety and depression symptoms) and alcohol problems in a sample of adolescents involved with child welfare. Participants were 202 adolescents (54.4% females, ages 14–17) from the Maltreatment and Adolescent Pathways (MAP) Longitudinal Study who completed measures of childhood maltreatment, alcohol use and alcohol problems, drinking motives, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Controlling for gender, age, alcohol use, and child maltreatment, coping motives were signifi cantly associated with alcohol problems, and the Anxiety × Coping and Depression × Coping interaction were also signifi cant. Increased anxiety symptoms were associated with more alcohol problems for adolescents with high coping motives, whereas increased depression symptoms were associated with fewer alcohol problems among those with high coping motives. We discuss the implications of these fi ndings for the development of interventions addressing anxiety in the context of using alcohol to cope among adolescents involved with child welfare.
Canadian CW research
Advances in Mental Health, 11(1): 67-75
ISBN / ISSN / DOI