How Stable Is the Motive–Alcohol Use Link? A Cross-National Validation of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire Revised Among Adolescents From Switzerland, Canada, and the United States Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to investigate cross-national differences (1) in the four-dimensional factor structure of drinking motives; (2) in the mean levels of enhancement, coping, social, and conformity motives; and (3) in the association of these motives with adolescent alcohol use, risky single-occasion drinking, and alcohol-related problems. METHOD:Confirmatory factor analysis, analysis of variance, and structural equation modeling were applied to sample data from Switzerland (n=5,118; mean age=15.3), Canada (n=2,557; mean age=15.7), and the United States (n=607; mean age=15.7). RESULTS:The results showed that the four-dimensional factor structure of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire Revised (DMQ-R) was structurally invariant across the three countries. Although the rank order in mean levels of motive endorsement was the same across countries (i.e., highest for social, followed by enhancement, coping, and conformity), the absolute levels of endorsement were highest in the Canadian sample, followed by the Swiss and then the U.S. sample. In all three countries, enhancement and coping motives were positively related to alcohol use and to risky drinking in particular, and coping motives were additionally related to alcohol-related problems. CONCLUSIONS:The results indicate that the DMQ-R is a valid and reliable instrument to assess drinking motives across cultures. It appears therefore that the DMQ-R is an ideal instrument for inclusion in large cross-national surveys and that programs that target motives as a way to reduce risky drinking may be appropriate for different drinking cultures in different geographical locations.

publication date

  • May 2008