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Motives for mixing alcohol with energy drinks and other nonalcoholic beverages, and consequences for overall alcohol consumption

Authors Verster J, Benson S, Scholey A

Received 14 March 2014

Accepted for publication 11 April 2014

Published 18 June 2014 Volume 2014:7 Pages 285—293


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Joris C Verster,1,2 Sarah Benson,2 Andrew Scholey2

1Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands; 2Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Introduction: The aim of this survey was to assess the motives for energy drink consumption, both alone and mixed with alcohol, and to determine whether negative or neutral motives for consuming alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AMED) have a differential effect on overall alcohol consumption.
Methods: Demographics, alcohol and energy drink consumption-related questions, and motives for the consumption of energy drinks (alone or mixed with alcohol) were assessed. The motives to mix alcohol with energy drinks were compared with those for mixing alcohol with other nonalcoholic beverages.
Results: A total of 2,329 students who completed the study consumed energy drinks. The motives for consuming energy drinks (without alcohol) included "I like the taste" (58.6%), “To keep me awake” (54.3%), “It gives me energy” (44.3%), "It helps concentrating when studying" (33.9%), "It increases alertness" (28.8%), “It helps me concentrate better” (20.6%), and “It makes me less sleepy when driving” (14.2%). A total of 1,239 students reported occasionally consuming AMED (AMED group). The most frequent motives included “I like the taste” (81.1%), “I wanted to drink something else” (35.3%), and “To celebrate a special occasion” (14.6%). No relevant differences in motives were observed for using an energy drink or another nonalcoholic beverage as a mixer.
A minority of students (21.6%) reported at least one negative motive to consume AMED. Despite these negative motives, students reported consuming significantly less alcohol on occasions when they consumed AMED compared to alcohol-only occasions.
Conclusion: The majority of students who consume energy drinks (without alcohol) do so because they like the taste, or they consume these drinks to keep them awake and give them energy. AMED consumption is more frequently motivated by neutral as opposed to negative motives. No relevant differences in drinking motives and overall alcohol consumption were observed between the occasions when energy drinks or other nonalcoholic beverages were mixed with alcohol.

Keywords: alcohol, energy drink, AMED, motives, consumption pattern, mixing

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