Objective: Little is known about whether level of affective arousal (i.e., high vs. low) is associated with alcohol use and whether this relationship differs by valence (i.e., positive vs. negative affect) among adults. Methods: Participants were n = 93 self-reported current drinkers (ages 25–65) who reported positive (PA) and negative affect (NA) seven times a day and alcohol use once a day for seven consecutive days. For each individual, mean levels of high arousal PA (e.g., excited), low arousal PA (e.g., satisfied), high arousal NA (e.g., frustrated), and low arousal NA (e.g., sad) were computed for each day. Results: Alcohol use was reported on 30% of person-days, with an average of 2.3 drinks consumed on drinking days. Heavy episodic drinking (4+/5+ drinks for women/men) occurred on 4% of days. After covarying for age, gender, and weekday, days with higher-than-usual levels of high arousal PA were associated with a 52% increase in the odds of consuming any alcohol and a 105% increase in the odds of engaging in heavy episodic drinking. Individuals reporting more low arousal PA on average had a 77% increase in the odds of heavy episodic drinking. No significant associations between high or low arousal NA and alcohol use were found. Conclusions: Greater PA, but not NA, was associated with heavy alcohol use at both the within- and between-person levels, perhaps attributable to social and enhancement drinking motives. Results differed by arousal, highlighting the importance of considering a wide range of affective states when examining alcohol use behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health