A study published in the Journal Addictive Behaviors examined the association between life goals and hazardous alcohol use among first-year university students. 117 students rated a series of self-generated life goals on meaning and efficacy and then completed alcohol assessments.
Source: Life goals and alcohol use among first-year college students: The role of motives to limit drinking Tibor P. Palfai and Timothy E. Ralston Journal of Addictive Behaviors. Available online 22 June 2011.
The researchers found that higher goal meaning ratings were associated with less alcohol use and fewer heavy drinking episodes. Tests of indirect effects showed that the associations between goal meaning ratings and alcohol use indices were mediated by motives to limit drinking, particularly the motive to maintain self-control/ standards.
The authors argue that these results replicate and extend previous work on goal meaning and hazardous drinking among students. Their findings are consistent with the view that engagement in university life goals may serve as a protective factor against hazardous drinking among first-year students due to greater concern with the impact of drinking on their ability to attain goal standards. They state that their findings highlight the importance of non-alcohol activities for students.