The Daily Association Between Affect and Alcohol Use: A Meta-Analysis of Individual Participant Data

Jonas Dora, Marilyn Piccirillo, Katherine T. Foster, Kelly Arbeau, Stephen Armeli, Marc Auriacombe, Bruce Bartholow, Adriene M. Beltz, Shari M. Blumenstock, Krysten Bold, Erin E. Bonar, Abby Braitman, Ryan W. Carpenter, Kasey G. Creswell, Tracy De Hart, Robert D. Dvorak, Noah Emery, Matthew Enkema, Catharine Fairbairn, Anne M. FairlieStuart G. Ferguson, Teresa Freire, Fallon Goodman, Nisha Gottfredson, Max Halvorson, Maleeha Haroon, Andrea L. Howard, Andrea Hussong, Kristina M. Jackson, Tiffany Jenzer, Dominic P. Kelly, Adam M. Kuczynski, Alexis Kuerbis, Christine M. Lee, Melissa Lewis, Ashley N. Linden-Carmichael, Andrew Littlefield, David M. Lydon-Staley, Jennifer E. Merrill, Robert Miranda, Cynthia Mohr, Jennifer P. Read, Clarissa Richardson, Roisin O'Connor, Stephanie S. O'Malley, Lauren Papp, Thomas M. Piasecki, Paul Sacco, Nichole Scaglione, Fuschia Serre, Julia Shadur, Kenneth J. Sher, Yuichi Shoda, Tracy L. Simpson, Michele R. Smith, Angela Stevens, Brittany Stevenson, Howard Tennen, Michael Todd, Hayley Treloar Padovano, Timothy Trull, Jack Waddell, Katherine Walukevich-Dienst, Katie Witkiewitz, Tyler Wray, Aidan G.C. Wright, Andrea M. Wycoff, Kevin M. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Influential psychological theories hypothesize that people consume alcohol in response to the experience of both negative and positive emotions. Despite two decades of daily diary and ecological momentary assessment research, it remains unclear whether people consume more alcohol on days they experience higher negative and positive affects in everyday life. In this preregistered meta-analysis, we synthesized the evidence for these daily associations between affect and alcohol use. We included individual participant data from 69 studies (N = 12,394), which used daily and momentary surveys to assess the affect and the number of alcoholic drinks consumed. Results indicate that people are not more likely to drink on days they experience high negative affect but are more likely to drink and drink heavily on days high in positive affect. People self-reporting a motivational tendency to drink-to-cope and drink-to-enhance consumed more alcohol but not on days they experienced higher negative and positive affects. Results were robust across different operationalizations of affect, study designs, study populations, and individual characteristics. These findings challenge the long-held belief that people drink more alcohol following increase in negative affect. Integrating these findings under different theoretical models and limitations of this field of research, we collectively propose an agenda for future research to explore open questions surrounding affect and alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology

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