Affect regulation models state that affect both motivates and reinforces alcohol use. We aimed to examine whether affect levels and rates of change differed across drinking versus nondrinking days in a manner consistent with affect regulation models. Four hundred four regularly drinking adults, aged 18-70 years, completed ecological momentary assessments over 3 weeks. Participants provided positive affect (PA; enthusiastic, excited, happy) and negative affect (NA; distressed, sad) reports during all prompts; alcohol consumption reports were also provided. Multilevel spline models revealed that on drinking days, PA was higher and NA was lower both before and after drinking compared to matched times on nondrinking days. PA and NA were also higher and lower, respectively, both before and after drinking, when heavy drinking days were compared to moderate drinking days. Examination of affect rates of change revealed that (a) accelerating increases in PA and accelerating decreases in NA preceded drinking initiation, (b) PA increases and NA decreases were seen up to 2 hr after drinking initiation, and (c) pre- andpostdrinking PA increases were larger on heavy versus moderate drinking days, whereas only postdrinking NA decreases were larger on heavy drinking days. Results supported affect regulation models while adding nuance, showing accelerating changes in predrinking affect on drinking days and pre- and postdrinking differences in affect levels and rates of change across days of varying drinking intensity. Beyond theory, our results suggest that accelerating changes in affect may provide a clue to future commencement of heavy drinking, which may aid momentary intervention development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health