Date of Award

Spring 6-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

William H. Gottdiener

Second Reader

Maureen Allwood

Third Advisor

Peggilee Wupperman


Sociotropy and autonomy are two cognitive personality dimensions, or personality styles, that have been implicated in the way individuals may uniquely develop, experience, and respond to treatment for depression. The goal of the current study was to investigate whether these cognitive personality dimensions are differentially related to drinking motivations and alcohol-related behaviors among college students. Participants included 311 college students (Mage = 23.1, 63% male) recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk. Results partially supported hypothesized relationships showing that generally, those higher in sociotropy were more likely to endorse external motivations for drinking (i.e. social and conformity motives), while those higher in autonomy were more likely to endorse internal motivations for drinking (i.e., coping motives). Moreover, results showed that sociotropy moderated the relationship between social drinking motives and binge drinking, and that gender did not impact this result. In comparison, autonomy moderated the relationship between coping drinking motives and alcohol-related negative consequences, and this relationship varied as a function of gender. Findings provide initial evidence that sociotropy and autonomy are differentially related to student drinking motivations and alcohol-related behaviors. Research that is sensitive to the heterogeneous nature of the development, maintenance, and treatment for depression may yield important treatment implications when considering alcohol misuse among college students.



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