Drinking less and drinking smarter: Direct and indirect protective strategies in young adults

Kelly S. DeMartini, Rebekka S. Palmer, Robert F. Leeman, William Corbin, Benjamin A. Toll, Lisa M. Fucito, Stephanie S. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Efforts to increase the use of protective behavioral strategies are a common component in interventions for young adult drinking. Some strategies, including those utilized while drinking, are directly correlated with lower drinking levels (cf. Martens et al., 2005). Other strategies, however, may be indirectly related to drinking and instead be more closely associated with alcohol-related consequences. Two studies assessed the Protective Strategies Questionnaire (PSQ; Palmer, 2004), which may be well suited to the assessment of direct and indirect strategies. In Study 1, data from a sample of undergraduate drinkers (N = 374) was used to examine the structure of the PSQ with principle components analysis (PCA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). In Study 2, data from a clinical sample of young adult drinkers (N = 173) was used to replicate the CFA model. In both studies, relationships among the factors, alcohol use, and consequences were examined. PCA and CFA in split halves of the undergraduate sample and CFA in the clinical sample confirmed two factors: a Direct Strategies (e.g., "space drinks out over time") factor and an Indirect Strategies (e.g., "have a designated driver") factor. Direct strategies were associated with lower alcohol consumption. Indirect strategies were less strongly associated with drinking but were associated with fewer alcohol-related consequences. Interventions for young adult drinking may be tailored to patient goals to decrease consumption and/or consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Alcohol-related consequences
  • Protective behavioral strategies
  • Young adult drinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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