Mood-Induced Drinking in Coping with Anxiety-Motivated and Socially Motivated Drinkers: a Lab-Based Experiment

  • Jamie-Lee CollinsEmail author
  • Alissa Pencer
  • Sherry H. Stewart
Original Article


Alcohol misuse is a major problem on university campuses. One way to determine which students are at risk is to examine their drinking motives. Coping with anxiety-motivated (CAM) drinkers have been found to have elevated alcohol problems, even after controlling for alcohol consumption levels. Socially motivated (SM) drinkers do not show elevated alcohol problems. The current study investigated the impact of mood induction (positive or anxious) and drinking motive (CAM or SM) on laboratory alcohol consumption levels in a sample of 81 undergraduate drinkers. SM drinkers consumed more alcohol when a positive vs. anxious mood was induced (t(42) = −2.18, p = .04). Contrary to hypotheses, CAM drinkers did not consume more alcohol when an anxious vs. positive mood was induced (t(35) = −0.21, p = .84). However, they did not exhibit the normative pattern of reducing alcohol use when experiencing an anxious mood. CAM drinkers’ increased alcohol problems may be related to this lack of inhibition of drinking when experiencing negative mood states.


Drinking motives Mood Undergraduates Alcohol consumption 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

Conflict of Interest

Author Collins, Author Pencer, and Author Stewart declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Albersnagel, F. A. (1988). Velten and musical mood induction procedures: a comparison with accessibility of thought associations. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 22, 465–476.Google Scholar
  2. Armeli, S., Todd, M., Conner, T. S., & Tennen, H. (2008). Drinking to cope with negative moods and the immediacy of drinking within the weekly cycle among college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 69, 313–322. Google Scholar
  3. Birch, C. D., Stewart, S. H., Wall, A. M., McKee, S. A., Eisnor, S. J., & Theakston, J. A. (2004). Mood-induced increases in alcohol expectancy strength in internally motivated drinkers. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 231–238.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Birch, C. D., Stewart, S. H., & Zack, M. (2006a). Emotion and motive effects on drug-related cognition. In R. W. Wiers & A. W. Stacy (Eds.), Handbook on implicit cognition and addiction (pp. 267–280). Thousand Oaks: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Birch, C. D., Stewart, S. H., Girling, A. N., & Berish, M. J. (2006b). The impact of mood, drinking motives, and gender on laboratory alcohol consumption. In A. V. Clark (Ed.), Psychology of moods (pp. 1–36). Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  7. Conger, J. (1956). Reinforcement theory and the dynamics of alcoholism. Quarterly Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 17, 296–305.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Cooney, N. K., Litt, M. D., Morse, P. A., Bauer, L. O., & Gaupp, L. (1997). Alcohol cue reactivity, negative mood reactivity, and relapse in treated alcoholic men. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 106, 243–250.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Cooper, L. (1994). Motivations for alcohol use among adolescents: development and validation of a four-factor model. Psychological Assessment, 6(2), 117–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cooper, M. L., Russell, M., Skinner, J. B., & Windle, M. (1992). Development and validation of a three-dimensional measure of drinking motives. Psychological Assessment, 4(2), 123–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grant, V. V., & Stewart, S. H. (2007). Impact of experimentally induced positive and anxious mood on alcohol expectancy strength in internally motivated drinkers. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 36(2), 102–111.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Grant, V. V., Stewart, S. H., O'Connor, R. M., Blackwell, E., & Conrod, P. J. (2007). Psychometric evaluation of the five-factor modified drinking motives questionnaire—revised in undergraduates. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 2611–2632.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Grant, V. V., Stewart, S. H., & Mohr, C. D. (2009). Coping-anxiety and coping-depression motives predict different daily mood-drinking relationships. Addictive Behaviours, 23, 226–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Higgins, R. L., & Marlatt, G. A. (1973). Effects of anxiety arousal on the consumption of alcohol by alcoholics and social drinkers. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 41, 426–433.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. IBM Corp. (2010). IBM SPSS Statistics for Macintosh (version 19.0). Armonk: IBM Corp.Google Scholar
  16. Khantzian, E. J. (1997). The self-medication hypothesis of substance use disorders: a reconsideration and recent applications. Harvard Review of Psychaitry, 4(5), 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kwan, M. Y., Faulkner, G. E., Arbour-Nicitopoulos, K. P., & Cairney, J. (2013). Prevalence of health-risk behaviours among Canadian post-secondary students: descriptive results from the National College Health Assessment. BMC Public Health, 13, 548–553.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Loewenthal, K. M. (1996). An introduction to psychological tests and scales. London: UCL Press Ltd..Google Scholar
  19. Marlatt, G. A., & Gordon, J. R. (1980). Determinants of relapse: implications for the maintenance of behavior change. In P. O. Davidson & S. M. Davidson (Eds.), Behavioral medicine: changing health lifestyles (pp. 410–452). New York: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar
  20. Martens, M. P., Taylor, K. K., Damann, K. M., Page, J. C., Mowry, E. S., & Cimini, M. D. (2004). Protective behavioural strategies when drinking alcohol and their relationship to negative alcohol-related consequences in college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 18, 390–393.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Martin, M. (1990). On the induction of mood. Clinical Psychology Review, 10, 669–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mohr, C. D., Armeli, S., Tennen, H., Temple, M., Todd, M., Clark, J., & Carney, M. A. (2005). Moving beyond the keg party: a daily process study of college student drinking motivations. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19, 392–403.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Mongrain, M., & Trambakoulos, J. (2007). A musical mood induction alleviates dysfunctional attitudes in needy and self-critical individuals. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 21, 295–309.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pesce, L., van Veen, T., Carlier, I., van Noorden, M. S., van der Wee, N. J., van Hemert, A. M., & Giltay, E. J. (2016). Gender differences in outpatients with anxiety disorders: the Leiden Routine Outcome Monitoring Study. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 25, 278–287.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Pignatiello, M. F., Camp, C. J., & Rasar, L. A. (1986). Musical mood induction: an alternative to the Velten technique. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 295–297.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Rogowski, J. P. (1991). Comparison of the effects of musical and cognitive mood induction procedures on self-report and behavioural mood measures. Dissertation Abstracts International, 52, 4961.Google Scholar
  27. Shapiro, K. L., & Lim, A. (1989). The impact of anxiety on visual attention to central and peripheral events. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 27, 345–351.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Sher, K., & Levenson, R. (1982). Risk for alcoholism and individual differences in the stress-response-dampening effect of alcohol. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 91, 350–367.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Stewart, S. H., Hall, E., Wilkie, H., & Birch, C. (2002). Affective priming of alcohol schema in coping and enhancement motivated drinkers. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 31, 68–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2001). Using multivariate statistics (4th ed.). Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  31. Tiffany, S. T. (1990). A cognitive model of drug urges and drug-use behaviour: role of automatic and nonautomatic processes. Psychological Review, 97, 147–168.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. White, H. R., & Labouvie, E. W. (1989). Towards the assessment of adolescent problem drinking. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 50, 30–37.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie-Lee Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alissa Pencer
    • 1
  • Sherry H. Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology & NeuroscienceDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations