Positive and negative affectivity as risk factors for heavy drinking in the second half of life: a prospective cohort study

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Abstract

Aims

To estimate the prospective relations between levels of propensity to experience positive affect (PA) and propensity to experience negative affect (NA) and risk of heavy drinking in a cohort of Norwegians aged 40–80 years.

Design

Clustered sampling was used to draw Norwegians aged 40–79 years in 2002/03 (t1). The relationship between PA and NA measured at t1 and heavy drinking measured in 2007/08 (t2) was estimated with random-intercept logistic regression.

Setting

Norway.

Participants

A total of 2142 (44.0% men) who consumed mean = 3.07 [standard deviation (SD) = 3.15] UK units of alcohol on average per week and were intoxicated less than once per week at t1.

Measures

The Brief Measure of Positive and Negative Affect, quantity–frequency measure of alcohol use and frequency of drinking to intoxication. Heavy drinking at t2 (> 14 units per week and/or intoxication ≥ once per week) was regressed on PA and NA at t1.

Findings

Controlling for alcohol consumption, gender, age, income and level of education (at t1) and change in PA and NA, there was little evidence for an association between level of PA and heavy drinking [odds ratio (OR) = 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.71, 1.29, Bayes factor = 0.15]. The level of NA at t1 was associated with greater risk of heavy drinking at t2 (OR = 1.40, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.93).

Conclusion

There is little evidence for an association between the propensity to experience positive affect and heavy drinking among Norwegians aged 40–80 years. Norwegian adults in the second half of life with a high propensity to experience negative affect are at greater risk of heavy drinking approximately 5 years later than those with a low propensity to experience negative affect.

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