Drinking to regulate positive and negative emotions: a motivational model of alcohol use

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 Nov;69(5):990-1005. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.69.5.990.


The present study proposed and tested a motivational model of alcohol use in which people are hypothesized to use alcohol to regulate both positive and negative emotions. Two central premises underpin this model: (a) that enhancement and coping motives for alcohol use are proximal determinants of alcohol use and abuse through which the influence of expectancies, emotions, and other individual differences are mediated and (b) that enhancement and coping motives represent phenomenologically distinct behaviors having both unique antecedents and consequences. This model was tested in 2 random samples (1 of adults, 1 of adolescents) using a combination of moderated regression and path analysis corrected for measurement error. Results revealed strong support for the hypothesized model in both samples and indicate the importance of distinguishing psychological motives for alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*