College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Heavy Drinking and Negative Affective Situations in a General Population and Treatment Sample: Alternative Explanations

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1995

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

ISSN

0893-164X

Volume

9

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

Situations associated with heavy alcohol consumption were compared across respondents with different levels of alcohol dependence within a general population sample and within a sample of individuals in treatment. Results from both groups suggested that, associated with increasing problem severity, there was a shift in the relative balance from drinking heavily in positive affective situations to more often drinking heavily in negative affective situations. At least 3 alternative hypotheses could explain these cross-sectional findings: Heavy drinking is increasingly used as a coping response as problems increase in severity; the relationship is epiphenomenal, reflecting a shift in overall life circumstances; or the shift reflects a respondent selection bias due to individual differences. Implications of these alternatives are discussed. The source of the relationship can only be definitively investigated using a longitudinal design.

DOI

10.1037/0893-164X.9.2.123