This article reviews the effects of alcohol on stress responses among social drinkers. Despite considerable research, the relationship between alcohol and stress has remained unclear. An appraisal-disruption model of alcohol's effects on stress responses is proposed, which attempts to integrate many divergent findings. According to this model, alcohol disrupts initial appraisal of stressful information by constraining the spread of activation of associated information previously established in long-term memory. The conditions under which such disruption is likely to occur are outlined. Evidence relevant to each of the model's propositions is considered. It is concluded that the appraisal-disruption model provides a framework for integrating many of the findings from past investigations. Theoretical issues pertinent to the model are addressed.