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Sex Differences in Mediating and Moderating Processes Linking Economic Stressors, Psychological Distress, and Drinking
Robyn Lewis Brown, Judith A. Richman
Objective: Given the recent downturn in the U.S. economy, we considered in this study the processes linking economic stressors, psychological distress, and two alcohol-related outcomes (past-month drinking and problematic drinking). Method: Data were drawn from a mail survey of a national sample of 663 respondents. Structural equation modeling was used to assess whether psychological distress mediates the associations between economic stressors and the alcohol-related outcomes considered and whether these associations varied by gender. Results: Controlling for correlations among the outcomes and the effects of the sociodemographic control variables, psychological distress was found to partly explain the association between economic stressors and problematic drinking. The mediating effects on problematic drinking were significantly greater for men than women. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the utility of considering interrelationships among alcohol-related outcomes and, in this context, reveal the circumstances in which gender matters most for understanding the associations among economy-related stressors, psychological distress, and drinking. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 73, 811–819, 2012)