The Relationship Between Emotion Regulation, Social Support, and Alcohol-Related Problems Among Racially Diverse Adolescents

Published in: Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, v. 25, no. 3, 2016, p. 245-251

Posted on on April 27, 2016

by Briana A. Woods-Jaeger, Richard H. Nobles, Linnea Warren May, Mary E. Larimer

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Research Questions

  1. What social support and emotional coping factors can predict alcohol-related problems among adolescents?
  2. Is the Social Stress Model of Substance Abuse (SSMSA) framework relevant across racial groups?

PURPOSE: This study examined associations among alcohol-related problems and family support, collective efficacy, emotion-regulation drinking motives, and limited access to emotion-regulation strategies among racially diverse adolescents. METHODS: The sample included 150 racially diverse adolescent girls and boys (53.3% male) from two urban high schools in different geographic regions. RESULTS: Family support and collective efficacy were negatively correlated, and emotion-regulation drinking motives and limited access to emotion-regulation strategies positively correlated, with alcohol-related problems. Accounting for geographic location and drinking level, emotion-regulation drinking motives and limited access to emotion-regulation strategies uniquely predicted the number of different alcohol-related problems. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest the importance of including social and emotion factors in examinations of adolescent alcohol-related problems.

Key Findings

  • Social support within neighborhoods and families seems to protect against alcohol-related problems.
  • Limited access to emotional regulation strategies and use of drinking as a coping mechanism were associated with alcohol-related problems.
  • The SSMSA framework can identify potential risk and protective factors for alcohol-related problems in racially diverse groups of adolescents.


Alcohol prevention programs for adolescents should focus on developing emotional regulation skills and address perceptions of alcohol use acceptability.

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