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Abstract

Alcohol dependence and abuse in young adults is a growing problem, especially on college campuses. Relationships between young adults and their family members and peers appear to be factors that influence alcohol use. Previous research on alcohol use and relationships has primarily focused on relationship satisfaction or parent involvement, and few studies have investigated the quality of sibling and friend relationships. The purpose of this study was to examine how different dimensions of relationships (i.e., support, depth, and conflict) and relationship type (i.e., parent, sibling, significant other, and same-sex friend) are related to alcohol dependence in young adults. College students (n=80; 67 female, 13 male) completed the Quality of Relationships Inventory (QRI) and the Alcohol Dependence Scale (ADS). Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to test the associations between alcohol dependence and the different dimensions and types of relationships. Availability of support from siblings and significant others; and greater stability and perceived importance of relationships with parents, siblings, and significant others were negatively related to alcohol dependence. Conflict with parents and same-sex friends were positively related to alcohol dependence. The findings support that each relationship is linked to alcohol dependence symptoms. Lower alcohol dependence is linked to greater depth of family relationships, that is, to perceptions of stability and importance of relationships with parents and siblings. On the other hand, lower alcohol dependence is linked to practical aspects of relationships with friends and significant others, such as giving friends availability to provide advice. These findings may have implications for alcohol abuse interventions on college campuses, such as the potential need to include a family component.

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