Energy drink use is associated with increased risk behavior among adolescents and college students. This study examined this relationship in a nationwide sample of young adults and also examined relations between energy drink use and delay discounting.
Participants were 874 U.S. adults 18-28 years of age with past 30-day consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Participants completed an online survey of energy drink use, drug use, sexual activity, alcohol misuse (alcohol use disorders identification test [AUDIT]), sensation seeking (four-item Brief Sensation Seeking Scale [BSSS-4]), and delay discounting of monetary rewards and condom use.
Over one-third of participants (n = 303) reported consuming energy drinks at least once per week. Weekly energy drink users were more likely than less-than-weekly energy drink users to report a recent history of risk behaviors, including cigarette smoking (56% vs. 28%), illicit stimulant use (22% vs. 6%), and unprotected sex (63% vs. 45%). Covariate-adjusted analyses found that weekly energy drink users did not have significantly higher BSSS-4 scores (3.5 vs. 3.1), but they had higher mean AUDIT scores (8.0 vs. 4.8), and they more steeply discounted delayed monetary rewards. Although weekly energy drink users did not show steeper discounting of delayed condom use, they showed a lower likelihood of using a condom when one was immediately available.
This study extends findings that energy drink use is associated with risk behavior, and it is the first study to show that energy drink use is associated with monetary delay discounting.
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- 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.; Calhoun Cardiology Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.
- 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine , Baltimore, Maryland.
- 3Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.; Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
- J Caffeine Res. 2016 Mar 1;6(1):10-19.
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