Morally Based Self-Esteem, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol Use Among College Students

Melissa A. Lewis, Jerome Phillippi, Clayton Neighbors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This research examined the relationship of morally based self-esteem with drinking motives and alcohol consumption among college students. Basing self-esteem on morals was expected to be negatively associated with drinking behavior. We further expected this relationship to be mediated by drinking motives. Participants (N = 201; 45% male, 55% female) completed self-report measures of contingencies of self-worth, drinking motives, and drinking behavior. Previous research was supported in that college students whose self-esteem was more strongly contingent upon following personal morals consumed less alcohol. The current research extended these findings by showing that this relationship was mediated by drinking motives. Results suggest that it may be useful to better incorporate personal values into interventions for college students. The implementation of personal values in combination with brief treatments is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-403
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • alcohol
  • drinking motives
  • morals
  • self-esteem
  • values


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