Alcohol-related consequences remain widespread, despite extensive prevention efforts, and alcohol misuse by young adults results in over 1,500 deaths per year. Thus, it is crucial to understand etiologic factors that contribute to the development of alcohol-related consequences. Prior research has shown that individuals who report drinking to cope may have increased risks for alcohol-related consequences. It is assumed that drinking to cope implies drinking in response to negative affect, but it is unclear how negative affect, affect regulation strategies, and drinking to cope interact to predict alcohol-related consequences. Thus, further exploration into the daily dynamics of these factors is warranted. This study proposes to investigate how individual differences in negative affect and deployment of affect regulation strategies may interact to predict drinking to cope motives at the daily level, and if daily fluctuations in drinking to cope are related to daily alcohol-related consequences.. The study will utilize an EMA design in order to characterize daily processes that may lead to daily risk for alcohol-related consequences. Young adults age 18-22 (N=500) will be recruited for intensive longitudinal assessment of substance use and affect. Participants will use daily diary to report their affect, affect regulation strategies, drinking motives, alcohol use, and alcohol-related consequences. Findings from this study could inform prevention efforts by identifying individual differences factors that contribute to increased alcohol consequences at a daily level, as well as possible targets for intervention. The proposed study represents innovation over prior research because there has not yet been a study that synthesizes daily fluctuations in affect, affect regulation strategies, and daily motivations to drinking and how these relate to alcohol-related consequences at a daily level. This study is aligned with the strategic plan of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), as it has possible implications for improving prevention of alcohol misuse and alcohol-related consequences during the high risk developmental period of young adulthood.. The funding of this project will provide substantial training to an emerging predoctoral researcher in ethics, research methodology, advanced quantitative methods, and career development. Overall, this project will illuminate processes by which negative affect can drive increased motivation to drink to cope, and how these processes relate to the development of alcohol-related consequences.

Public Health Relevance

The present study aims to better characterize the phenomenon of drinking to cope by situating it within a broader context of self-regulation ability. Negative affect and self regulation will be investigated as determinants of drinking to cope and substance use, and person-level predictors of drinking to cope will be assessed through daily diary methodology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAA1)
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Castle, I-Jen
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University of Washington
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United States
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