Being Drunk to Have Fun or to Forget Problems? Identifying Enhancement and Coping Drinkers Among Risky Drinking Adolescents

Emmanuel Kuntsche*, Ronald Knibbe, Rutger C. M. E. Engels, Gerhard Gmel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Prevention programs in adolescence are particularly effective if they target homogeneous risk groups of adolescents who share a combination of particular needs and problems. The present work aims to identify and classify risky single-occasion drinking (RSOD) adolescents according to their motivation to engage in drinking. An easy-to-use coding procedure was developed. It was validated by means of cluster analyses and structural equation modeling based on two randomly selected subsamples of a nationally representative sample of 2,449 12- to 18-year-old RSOD students in Switzerland. Results revealed that the coding procedure classified RSOD adolescents as either enhancement drinkers or coping drinkers. The high concordance (Sample A: kappa - .88, Sample B: kappa - .90) with the results of the cluster analyses demonstrated the convergent validity of the coding classification. The fact that enhancement drinkers in both subsamples were found to go out more frequently in the evenings and to have more satisfactory social relationships, as well as a higher proportion of drinking peers and a lower likelihood to drink at home than coping drinkers demonstrates the concurrent validity of the classification. To conclude, the coding procedure appears to be a valid, reliable, and easy-to-use tool that can help better adapt prevention activities to adolescent risky drinking motives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-54
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychological Assessment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • drinking motives
  • classification
  • prevention
  • adolescents
  • cluster analysis

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