Alcohol consumption is a well-known risk factor for cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), and various other diseases. It is here suggested that motivational factors may be important in mediating any effects of drinking on health. In particular, the hypothesis was tested that drinking to drown one's sorrows (S-type) was much more a risk factor than pleasure drinking (P-type). A total of 1,706 men were tested and followed for 13 years, when death and cause of death were established. The hypothesis was supported for all levels of drinking. In addition, subjects were divided into those 900 who were under stress at the beginning of the study and those 806 who were not. Stress and drinking combined in a complex fashion to form a risk factor for disease, and motivation combined with both in the predicted direction.