Autonomy support and autonomous functioning in relation to drinking and drinking motivation among university students


  • J. Benka
  • O. Orosova
  • M. Brutovska


Background: This study used Self-determination theory to explore the relationship between parental autonomy support and autonomous functioning in relation to alcohol use and motivation to alcohol use among university students in Slovakia. Methods: A cross-sectional correlational design was used. University students participated in the study (n = 719; mean age = 21.25, SD = 1.99; 59% women) and completed questionnaires on alcohol use (AUDIT), drinking motives (DMQ-R), perceived autonomy support from parents regarding autonomous thinking, autonomous decision-making and physical separation (POPs) and autonomous functioning comprising congruence, interest-taking and susceptibility to control (IAF). Linear regression analyses were used and Sobel test was applied to test for possible mediation. Findings: The analyses revealed that after controlling for gender and age only specific types of autonomy support and autonomous functioning were related to alcohol use and drinking motives. In particular, congruence was associated with alcohol use negatively (β=-0.17; p˂0.001) while physical separation positively (β=0.14; p˂0.001). Similar pattern was observed in relation to drinking motives (p˂0.001). Further investigation showed that drinking motives were the mediators of the relationship between autonomy variables and alcohol use (p˂0.05). Discussion: The results suggest that autonomy in terms of parental autonomy support and autonomy as functioning may be relevant with regard to drinking behaviour and this influence is mediated by drinking motives, however, this seems to be limited only to specific aspects of autonomy support and autonomous functioning. Further research is needed to address the interplay between autonomy support and autonomous functioning in the explored context.





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