Associations among depressive symptoms, drinking motives, and risk for alcohol-related problems in veterinary students

Andrea R. Diulio, Nicole M. Dutta, Jami M. Gauthier, Tracy K. Witte, Christopher J. Correia, Donna Angarano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Hazardous alcohol consumption among medical students appears to occur at a level comparable to the general population; however, among medical students, it has been found that the motivation to use alcohol partially stems from unique stressors related to their professional training. Although veterinary students may also experience psychological distress in association with their training, little work has focused on the way that these students use alcohol to cope with their distress. The current study sought to examine the severity of depressive symptoms and alcohol consumption among veterinary students as well as students' specific motives for drinking alcohol. The majority of our sample reported experiencing at least one depressive symptom, and a significant proportion engaged in high-risk drinking, with men reporting more harmful alcohol use patterns. Drinking motives related to managing internal bodily and emotional states accounted for variance in drinking patterns. Further, drinking to ameliorate negative emotions partially accounted for the relationship between psychological distress and high-risk drinking. The results of this study suggest that depressive symptoms among veterinary students may be related to harmful drinking patterns, due to alcohol being used as a coping mechanism to regulate emotions. The findings from this study can be used to develop targeted interventions to promote psychological well-being among veterinary students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-17
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Psychological services
  • Veterinary students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Veterinary


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