Hopelessness and excessive drinking among Aboriginal adolescents: The mediating roles of depressive symptoms and drinking to cope

Canadian Aboriginal youth show high rates of excessive drinking, hopelessness, and depressive symptoms. We propose that Aboriginal adolescents with higher levels of hopelessness are more susceptible to depressive symptoms, which in turn predispose them to drinking to cope—which ultimately puts them at risk for excessive drinking. Adolescent drinkers (n = 551; 52% boys; mean age = 15.9 years) from 10 Canadian schools completed a survey consisting of the substance use risk profile scale (hopelessness), the brief symptom inventory (depressive symptoms), the drinking motives questionnaire—revised (drinking to cope), and quantity, frequency, and binge measures of excessive drinking. Structural equation modeling demonstrated the excellent fit of a model linking hopelessness to excessive drinking indirectly via depressive symptoms and drinking to cope. Bootstrapping indicated that this indirect effect was significant. Both depressive symptoms and drinking to cope should be intervention targets to prevent/decrease excessive drinking among Aboriginal youth high in hopelessness.