In the Mood for Drinking? Study Tracks College Students’ Emotion Dynamics During Drinking and Non-drinking Days

A study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research has highlighted the link between emotional functioning and alcohol use. Previous research has shown that mood regulation is a core component of problematic drinking, and that emotions have a role in reinforcing repeated alcohol use – whether via the mood- and social-enhancing effects of alcohol (‘positive reinforcement’), or through drinking as a coping strategy to alleviate negative feelings of stress and anxiety (‘negative reinforcement’). According to theoretical models of addiction, alcohol reinforcement can act as a pathway to development of alcohol misuse and dependence over the longer-term. However, it is also important to understand the daily impact of emotional regulation and alcohol associations. In the latest study, researchers from the University of Central Florida examined snapshots of mood in college students in real time across drinking and non-drinking days, using a technique called ecological momentary