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Journal Article


Murray KS, Mullan B. Addict. Behav. 2019; 99: 106069.


Curtin University, Kent St, Bentley, WA, 6102, Australia. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






OBJECTIVES: Many university students consume more alcohol than their non-student peers, engaging in binge drinking episodes that increase the likelihood of experiencing both mental and physical harm. The aim of the current study was to test the predictive utility of temporal self-regulation theory (TST), and the additional construct of 'sensitivity to reward', in accounting for variance in binge drinking behavior amongst Australian university students.

DESIGN: A prospective correlational design with two time points one week apart.

METHODS: A convenience sample of 491 university students were recruited to an online survey. At time one, participants completed self-report measures assessing TST constructs (intention, behavior prepotency, self-regulation), as well as 'sensitivity to reward'. One week later at time two, 392 participants (18-62 years, 76.8% female) completed an online account of their alcohol use over the previous seven days.

RESULTS: Using hierarchical multiple regression analyses, TST significantly predicted binge drinking behaviors (binge drinking episodes: R2 = 0.41, p < .001; peak consumption: R2 = 0.41, p < .001), with equally large effect sizes for both, f2 = 0.69. 'Sensitivity to reward' did not account for significant variance. Intention and behavioral prepotency independently predicted binge drinking behaviors with different components of behavioral prepotency predicting different behaviors. There were no moderation effects.

CONCLUSIONS: Results indicated TST, incorporating deliberate and automatic processes, provided a good understanding of behavior. Behavior prepotency (habit, cues to action, past behavior) also impacted the two binge drinking behaviors differently. Finally, this study offers direction into future research regarding interventions surrounding habitual drinking behaviors whilst studying at university.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Language: en


Binge drinking; Sensitivity to reward; Temporal self-regulation theory; University students


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