The present research was conducted to explore the relationship
between negative mood and the reinforcing value of alcohol, while
clarifying the role of coping motives. Participants with a history
of recent alcohol use (N=44; 72% female, 86% Caucasian, and mean
age of 21.9) participated in a laboratory session and were randomly
assigned to either a negative (n=22) or neutral (n=22) mood
induction condition. A manipulation check confirmed that
participants in the negative mood condition, but not the neutral
mood condition, displayed a significant increase in negative
affect. The Multiple Choice Procedure was used to measure the
reinforcing value of alcohol after the mood manipulation. A
crossover point at which the participant chooses money over alcohol
was used as an index of the reinforcing value of that drug.
Regression models employed the MCP crossover point as the dependent
variable; mood condition (neutral or negative) and drinking to cope
were entered as predictors. A final model that included an
interaction term of the aforementioned predictor variables
accounted for 29% of the variance in MCP crossover points, with the
interaction term emerging as a significant predictor. These results
suggest that the relationship between mood and the reinforcing
value of alcohol is moderated by drinking to cope, and help clarify
the conditions under which negative mood may lead to changes in the
reinforcing value of alcohol. This research also supports the
utility of providing coping drinkers with alternative tools for
addressing their negative affect.
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