Stress and alcohol use: moderating effects of gender, coping, and alcohol expectancies

J Abnorm Psychol. 1992 Feb;101(1):139-52. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.101.1.139.


A stressor vulnerability model of stress-induced drinking was tested in a stratified random sample of 1,316 Black and White adult drinkers. Stressors were highly predictive of both alcohol use and drinking problems among men who relied on avoidant forms of emotion coping or held strong positive expectancies for alcohol's effects and accounted for more than 35% of the variance in alcohol use among the subgroup of men who were high in both vulnerability factors. In contrast, stressors were negatively related among men who were low in both and were unrelated among women regardless of their coping or expectancies. These findings suggest that tension reduction theories of alcohol use are overly broad and that individual characteristics must be considered to account for stress-related effects on alcohol use and abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Set, Psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*