Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Justin McDonald


While previous research has suggested American Indians (AI) experience higher levels of alcohol use and related consequences than Caucasians (CA), recent research has demonstrated that AI may actually be drinking at the same or lower rates than CA. AI college students may choose to consume alcohol for different reasons than CA students, referred to as drinking motivation. Resiliency (i.e., experiencing positive outcomes regardless of serious threats) may be one factor that moderates the relationship between specific drinking motives and alcohol use. The current study examined alcohol use, drinking motivation, and resiliency among University of North Dakota (UND) AI (n = 27), White Earth Tribal Community College (WE) AI (n = 19), and UND CA (n = 30) college students. Results revealed no significant differences in drinking motivation and alcohol use among AI and CA students. Additionally, results indicated no significant differences between resiliency and alcohol use among AI and CA students. Furthermore, results revealed resiliency did not moderate the impact of coping drinking motives on alcohol use for AI students and CA students. However, UND AI who drank to cope consumed higher rates of alcohol compared to WE AI students. Further, UND AI who were higher in resiliency had lower alcohol use compared to WE AI students. This study was the first to examined the relationship between alcohol use, drinking motives, and resiliency among AI and CA college students. A better understanding of the relationship between drinking motivation, resiliency, and alcohol use will enhance intervention efforts among college students and add to the literature of AI college students and alcohol use.