, Volume 32, Issue 5, pp 505-518

Negative Emotions and Alcohol Use Initiation in High-Risk Boys: The Moderating Effect of Good Inhibitory Control

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Abstract

Studies on the relation between negative affect and later alcohol use have provided mixed results. Because definitions of negative affect often include diverse emotions, researchers have begun to dismantle this higher-order construct in an attempt to explain these inconsistent findings. More recent evidence also indicates that good inhibitory control may moderate the relation between negative emotions and alcohol use. The current longitudinal investigation examined the independent relation between three components of negative affect (i.e., depressed mood, fear, and anger) and alcohol use initiation in a sample of aggressive boys. The moderating effect of good inhibitory control was also examined. Results indicated that increased anger and decreased fearfulness are associated with an increased risk for alcohol use initiation only for boys with moderate to low levels of inhibitory control. However, depressed mood predicted alcohol use initiation for boys with good inhibitory control. The potential implications for substance use prevention efforts are discussed.