Affect and Alcohol Consumption: An Ecological Momentary Assessment study during national lockdown

Anna Tovmasyan, Rebecca L Monk, Adam Qureshi, B Bunting, Derek Heim

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Abstract

COVID-19-related lockdown provided an opportunity to examine the relationship between affect and alcohol consumption in a historically unique context. To shed light on mixed findings regarding the interplay between affective states and alcohol consumption, the present study examined how affective states and affect fluctuations impact drinking during confinement of people to their homes. It also examined the extent to which the social context moderated the affect-consumption relationship. Having pre-registered study protocols, methods, and hypotheses, 87 UK participants (34% male, Mage = 29.33) used their smartphones to respond to thrice-daily prompts, recording their affective states, alcohol consumption, and social context over one week. Multilevel modelling suggested that being with someone (versus alone) were associated with increased alcohol consumption. Increased drinking on the previous day was associated with increased next day negative affect, and the number of household occupants was associated with decreased negative affect. Pre-consumption affect was not associated with subsequent drinking. These findings point to a complex relationship between alcohol consumption, social context, and negative affect. The opportunity to interact with others during lockdown was generally associated with decreased negative affect in the moment. However, the presence of others was associated with increased consumption which, in turn, predicted increased next-day negative affect.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Early online date10 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Mar 2022

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