An Experimental Investigation Into the Effect of Negative Affect on the Behavioral Economic Demand for Alcohol


Influential theoretical models hypothesize that alcohol use is an especially potent reinforcer when used as a strategy to cope with negative affect. Although the evidence for this idea in observational data is weak, some experimental evidence suggests that the behavioral economic demand for alcohol increases immediately following a negative emotional event. Because existing studies testing the effect of negative mood inductions on the demand for alcohol have several methodological limitations and do not take interand intraindividual variability into account, we developed an improved experimental design to increase our confidence in any potential within-person effect of negative mood inductions on alcohol demand as well as to test whether this effect exhibits systematic inter and intraindividual variability. We hypothesize that people will show a higher demand for alcohol following negative compared to neutral mood inductions and that this effect is stronger in heavy compared to light drinkers as well as stronger on days characterized by higher coping motives and negative urgency. Three hundred twenty college students will complete the alcohol purchase task (APT) after being subjected to 100 mood inductions (six negative, six neutral) on 20 separate days

Publication Title

Psychology of Addictive Behaviors