Alcohol consumption and risk for feeding and eating disorders in adolescence: The mediating role of drinking motives

Zsolt Horváth, Nóra Román, Zsuzsanna Elekes, Mark D. Griffiths, Zsolt Demetrovics, Róbert Urbán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: A complex and bidirectional association has been assumed between feeding and eating disorders (FEDs) and alcohol consumption. Previous research has demonstrated that alcohol use among individuals with different forms of FEDs is more frequently motivated by two subtypes of internal drinking motives: coping and enhancement motives. Namely, these individuals might use alcohol primarily to regulate internal states, such as to mitigate negative emotions or enhance positive emotions. Objectives: The present study investigated the mediating role of internal drinking motives on the association between risk for FEDs and alcohol consumption over the effects of relevant covariates, such as depressive symptoms or body mass index (BMI). Methods: Hungarian data of the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD) from 2015 were used. The final sample included responses from 5457 adolescents (50% males; mean age: 16.62 years). Validated self-report psychometric instruments assessed the level of alcohol use, depressive symptoms and risk for FEDs, and drinking motives. Results: Risk for FEDs presented a significant positive relationship with internal drinking motives and alcohol use. In the mediation analysis, a significant indirect effect was identified between risk for FEDs and alcohol use via internal drinking motives among females. Conclusions: Results demonstrated that risk for FEDs was positively associated with internal drinking motives and alcohol use. An indirect effect of risk for FEDs on alcohol consumption via internal drinking motives was discriminated over the impact of depressive symptoms. However, the latter relationship was only found among females which may highlight the gender differences in the relationship between risk for FEDs and alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106431
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020



  • Adolescents
  • Alcohol comorbidity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Drinking motives
  • Feeding and eating disorders
  • Gender differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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