Energy drinks mixed with alcohol: the interactive effects on risk-taking behavior, alcohol priming and related negative consequences

Topics: Alcoholic beverage, Alcoholism, Alcohol Pages: 16 (4177 words) Published: December 3, 2013

Energy drinks mixed with alcohol: the interactive effects on risk-taking behavior, alcohol priming and related negative consequences

School of Social Science
SLSY100: Psychology 100

Energy drinks mixed with alcohol: the interactive effects on risk-taking behavior, alcohol consumption and related negative consequences

The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between risk-taking propensity; AmED use and the effects these variables had overall alcohol consumption and the experience of related negative consequences. Participants were 172 university students from the psychology faculty of an Australian university. Data was collected using a self-report on line survey. The survey used a within subjects design and consisted of two parts. Part one asked questions about alcohol consumption when using alcohol alone, energy drink alone (ED) and energy drink mixed with alcohol (AmED). Participants also completed a modified version of the Brief Young Adult Consequence Scale (BYAACQ) to assess associated negative consequences as well as a RT-18 questionnaire to assess risk taking propensity. Part Two assessed personality traits such as depression however data collected was not used to this present study. The hypothesis that mixing alcohol with energy drink does not increase overall alcohol consumption was supported by the current study’s findings. As predicted, AmED use was not found to increase overall alcohol consumption. The findings also supported the prediction that high risk taking propensity increases both overall alcohol consumption as well the likelihood of experiencing associated negative consequences was supported. In Conclusion, these findings, taken together with previous research suggests that AmEd consumption does not increase overall alcohol consumption, risk taking behaviour or

negative alcohol related consequences. Findings also suggest that risk taking propensity is a significant variable in overall consumption and associated effects. Further studies using within subject designs are needed to explore the relationship between, risk taking propensity, gender, alcohol consumption and its related consequences to further validate these findings. Keywords: alcohol, energy drink, risk-taking, negative consequences,


High risk drinking behaviours among youth and young adult populations are a global concern (de Haan, de Haan, der Palen, Oliver and Verster, 2012). Of particular concern are the trends or practices reported to increase the consumption of alcohol and those that are reported to increase the likelihood of risk taking behaviours and negative consequences). The increased popularity of energy drinks has seen rise to the practice of mixing energy drinks with alcohol and the marketing of these beverages (AmED). This practice has raised concerns about the interactive effects that AmED beverages may have on behaviour with recent studies suggesting a correlation between AmED drinking “sessions” and increased alcohol consumption (O’Brien, McCoy, Rhodes, Wagoner & Wolfson, 2008); increased engagement in risk-taking behaviour (O’Brian et al, 2008); reduction in perceived level of intoxication (O’Brien et al, 2008; Peacock, Bruno & Martin, 2012 b) and an increase in the number of negative alcohol related events (O’Brien et al, 2008).

Energy drinks are carbonated beverages which contain caffeine and other legal stimulants such as the plant based guarana. Additional herbal stimulants such gingko biloba and ginseng, amino acids such as taurine, simple sugars and vitamins are also common to most popular brands of energy drink.(O’Brien et al, 2008). These beverages are specifically marketed to the youth segment and report to offer the consumer enhanced stamina and energy (Attila & Cakir, 2011). The motivation behind the consumption of AmED beverages has been the focus of recent research. Previous studies into the behavioural and...

References: Alford , C., Hamilton-Morris, J., & Verster, C. J. (2012). The effects of energy drink in combination with alcohol on performance and subjective awareness. Psychopharmacology, (222), 519-532. doi: 10.1007/s00-012-2677-1
Berger, L., Fendrich, M
Pennay, A., & Lubman, D. (2012). Alcohol and energy drinks: pilot study exploring patterns of consumption, social contexts, benefits and harms. BMC Research Notes, Retrieved from
Reissig, C
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