Could music potentially serve as a functional alternative to alcohol consumption? The importance of music motives among drinking and non-drinking adolescents Academic Article uri icon


  • This study investigated whether adolescents who drink and those who are teetotal differ in the link between music motives and health-related outcomes (life satisfaction, self-rated health, school pressure, somatic complaints, depressed and aggressive mood, physical powerlessness, frequency of being bullied and bullying others and evenings spent out with friends). It also looked at whether associations between music motives and health-related outcomes remained significant when drinking motives were included among drinkers.Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation models were estimated based on data from 4,481 adolescents from Switzerland (mean age 14.5, SD = 0.9).It was confirmed that the four music motives and the four drinking motives obtained by crossing the valence (positive–negative) and the source (internal–external) of expected change in affect form distinct dimensions (i.e. the 8-factor model best fitted the data). Drinkers and non-drinkers differed in the various links between music motives and health-related outcomes. For example, almost all the links between conformity music motives and the health-related outcomes were significant for non-drinkers but not for drinkers. Enhancement music motives, by contrast, were often significant for drinkers but not for non-drinkers. Coping music motives were significant among both drinkers and non-drinkers. These links were basically unchanged when drinking motives were taken into account.This study indicates that music serves important functions in the lives of adolescents, even among those who use alcohol for different motives. This makes listening to music a promising potential alternative to alcohol use.

publication date

  • 2014