Mental Health, Sleep Quality, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol-Related Consequences: A Path-Analytic Model

Document Type


Publication Date




Poor mental health, sleep problems, drinking motivations, and high-risk drinking are prevalent among college students. However, research designed to explicate the interrelationships among these health risk behaviors is lacking. This study was designed to assess the direct and indirect influences of poor mental health (a latent factor consisting of depression, anxiety, and stress) to alcohol use and alcohol-related consequences through the mediators of global sleep quality and drinking motives in a comprehensive model.


Participants were 1,044 heavy-drinking college students (66.3% female) who completed online surveys.


A hybrid structural equation model tested hypotheses involving relations leading from poor mental health to drinking motives and poorer global sleep quality to drinking outcomes. Results showed that poor mental health significantly predicted all four subscales of drinking motivations (social, coping, conformity, and enhancement) as well as poor sleep. Most of the drinking motives and poor sleep were found to explain alcohol use and negative alcohol consequences. Poor sleep predicted alcohol consequences, even after controlling for all other variables in the model. The hypothesized mediational pathways were examined with tests of indirect effects.


This is the first study to assess concomitantly the relationships among three vital health-related domains (mental health, sleep behavior, and alcohol risk) in college students. Findings offer important implications for college personnel and interventionists interested in reducing alcohol risk by focusing on alleviating mental health problems and poor sleep quality.

Recommended Citation

Kenney, S. R., Lac, A., LaBrie, J. W., Hummer,, J. F., & Pham, A. (2013). Mental Health, Sleep Quality, Drinking Motives, and Alcohol-Related Consequences: A Path-Analytic Model. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 74(6), 841–851.