Theory suggests that state- and trait-like factors should interact in predicting drinking to cope (DTC) motivation, yet no research to date has demonstrated this at the drinking episode level of analysis. Thus, we examined whether daily variation in positive and negative affect and avoidance and active coping were associated with DTC motivation during discrete drinking episodes and whether these associations were moderated by tension-reduction expectancies and other person-level risk factors.
Using a secure website, 722 college student drinkers completed a one-time survey regarding their tension reduction expectancies and then reported daily for 30 days on their affect, coping strategies, drinking behaviors and motives for drinking.
Individuals reported higher levels of DTC motivation on days when negative affect and avoidance coping were high and positive affect was low. We found only little support for the predicted interactive effects among the day- and person-level predictors.
Our results support the state and trait conceptualizations of DTC motivation and provide evidence for the antecedent roles of proximal levels of daily affect and avoidance coping. Our inconsistent results for interaction effects including day-level antecedents raise the possibility that some of these synergistic processes might not generalize across level of analysis.