Addictive behaviors | 2019
Investment in drinking identity is associated with alcohol consumption and risk of alcohol use disorder.
Problematic alcohol consumption is elevated among those who identify (i.e., associate themselves) with drinking. We extended prior research on drinking identity by considering two dimensions of investment in identity - i.e., mental resources allocated to that identity that may motivate the pursuit of identity-related goals. We considered drinking identity importance (i.e., how important one considers it to be) and drinking identity thought frequency (i.e., how frequently one thinks about it). We investigated these dimensions from two perspectives: an absolute perspective (i.e., investment in drinking identity irrespective of other identities) and a relative perspective (i.e., investment in drinking identity compared to identities associated with other life domains [education, well-being, and personal relationships]). We aimed to evaluate whether these investment dimensions were positively associated with alcohol consumption and risk of alcohol use disorder either in interaction with or in addition to endorsement of drinking identity. College students (N\u202f=\u202f521) who were screened for exhibiting hazardous drinking completed self-report measures of alcohol consumption, risk of alcohol use disorder, and drinking identity endorsement and investment. Controlling for gender and drinking identity endorsement, absolute and relative drinking identity thought frequency were uniquely and positively associated with alcohol consumption and risk of alcohol use disorder. Neither absolute nor relative importance of identification with drinking uniquely predicted outcomes. Drinking identity investment, as signaled by absolute and relative frequency of thought related to identification with drinking, may be an additional risk factor and/or clinical target for alcohol consumption and risk of alcohol use disorder.