Alcohol Consumption in University Students: The Relationship Between Personality and Metacognition in Relation to Drinking
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There are growing concerns over the heavy drinking found in university students in the UK. Metacognitions; the cognitive processes that oversee, monitor and control, cognition, have been related to alcohol use. The personality dimensions, high Neuroticism, high Extraversion and low Conscientiousness have also been related to heavier alcohol consumption. Furthermore, there is evidence that personality, mainly Neuroticism, might be related to metacognition. In this study we use self-report measures to assess personality, metacognitions and metacognitions specifically relating to alcohol use across heavy, binge, social and non drinkers in a sample of UK university students. We then examine the evidence for a relationship between personality and metacognition and test whether metacognitions are able to mediate the effect of personality on problem drinking. We found several differences in personality and metacognition across the drinking groups. Several associations were found between personality and metacognititive factors, and certain metacognitions about alcohol use were also able to mediate the protective effects of Neuroticism and Conscientiousness on problem drinking. The results support an association between personality and metacognition, and also suggest that the effect of personality on drinking operates, partially, through metacognition. Further research is needed to corroborate our findings.