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Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among people with mental disorders; however, few studies have addressed subjective reasons for drinking among the mentally ill. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between drinking motives and drinking patterns in 67 psychiatric outpatients. Results indicated that both positive and negative reinforcement motives differentiated drinkers from nondrinkers, with both types of motives correlated significantly with maximum quantity consumed in the last year. Enhanced negative (but not positive) reinforcement motives were associated with a history of treatment for alcohol or drug abuse. This study, which yielded findings similar to those found in previous research with nonclinical participants, represents the first psychometric investigation of motives underlying alcohol use among people with mental disorders.