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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Drinking to enhance and to cope: A daily process study of motive specificity

Daily process studies of internal drinking motives have not examined motive specificity, i.e., whether theoretically plausible trait and situational antecedents differ in their ability to predict the extent to which alcohol consumption on any given day is motivated by coping or enhancement.

University students (N = 81) completed trait measures of coping and enhancement-motivated drinking (trait CM and EM), sensation seeking, and conscientiousness, and then completed a 14-day online diary assessing daily completion of tasks, daily alcohol use, and (on days when alcohol was consumed) the extent to which drinking was motivated by coping or enhancement (daily CM and EM).

Hierarchical linear models revealed unique situational and trait antecedents of daily CM and EM. In the daily EM drinking model, main effects of daily positive affect (b = 0.11, p < .05), trait EM (b = 2.88, p < .01), and trait sensation seeking (b = 0.36, p < .01) were qualified by cross-level interactions between daily task accomplishment and trait conscientiousness (b = 0.03, p < .01), and daily task accomplishment and trait sensation seeking (b = 0.03, p < .01). In the daily CM drinking model, main effects of daily positive affect (b = − 0.08, p < .05), daily negative affect (b = 0.13, p < .05), and trait CM (b = 4.40, p < .01), were qualified by cross-level interactions between trait CM and daily positive affect (b = − 0.12, p < .05), trait CM and daily negative affect (b = 0.18, p < .01), and trait conscientiousness and daily task accomplishment (b = 0.01, p < .01).

Our results replicated and extended Cooper et al's (1995) findings on the differential roles of sensation seeking and negative affect in CM and EM drinking at the daily level, and call into question the view that drinking motives should be solely conceptualized as individual difference variables. Theoretical and applied implications of the findings are discussed.

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