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Distress tolerance, coping motives, and alcohol craving and consumption: Two experiments testing momentary responses to a mood induction.

BACKGROUND: The current studies examined the relationship between state and trait distress tolerance (DT), drinking-related variables (alcohol craving and consumption), and the moderating role of drinking to cope with negative affect (i.e., coping motives).

METHODS: Study 1 was a laboratory-based experiment. Participants (n=71) completed measures of trait DT, craving, coping motives, and affect valence prior to a negative mood induction task. Post-mood induction, participants completed measures of affect valence, alcohol craving, and state DT. Next, participants completed an alcohol taste task, measuring alcohol consumption. Study 2 was completed online. Participants (n=592) completed the same pre- and post-mood induction measures as study 1, but were randomized to a mood condition (neutral, negative, or positive). Study 2 did not include alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: Negative mood induction lowered reported affect in both studies. In study 1, higher coping motives predicted increased craving in response to negative mood induction but state and trait DT did not predict craving change alone. Contrary to our hypothesis, individuals with higher coping motives showed a positive relationship between trait DT and craving. Analyses predicting alcohol consumption were not significant. In study 2, lower trait DT predicted post-mood induction craving prior to inclusion of interactions in the model. Higher coping motives were the strongest and most consistent predictor of craving. Other predictors (state DT, mood condition) and interaction terms were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings broadly align with previous research suggesting that coping motives are predictive of craving and indicate that trait DT may also impact craving.

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