A Longitudinal Analysis of Drinking Motives Moderating the Negative Affect-Drinking Association Among College Students

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We examined among college students (N = 530; 276 women) the moderating effects of avoidance (coping) and appetitive (social-enhancement) drinking motives on the within-person associations between anxious and depressive affect and drinking frequency and quantity. Once per year for up to 4 years participants completed standard measures of drinking motives and retrospective reports of affect and drinking in the previous month. In addition, each year they completed a 30-day daily diary of affect and drinking. Results from models examining both the retrospective and aggregate daily data indicated that individuals with high compared with low social-enhancement motives showed stronger positive associations among changes in monthly negative affect and drinking frequency. Weak evidence was found for the predicted moderating effects of coping motives, although some results indicated that its effects were contingent on levels of social-enhancement motives. Our findings suggest that appetitive drinking motives might play an integral role in stress- and negative-affect related drinking among college students.

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