PhD Symposium Session 4.1: Mood and Affect
By Merve Mollaahmetoglu (University of Exeter, UK)
This session in the SSA PhD Symposium focused on the relationship between mood factors and alcohol consumption.
Rumination and alcohol
Firstly, I presented my research on the link between rumination and alcohol consumption among those with alcohol use disorders using an experience sampling methodology delivered on a smartphone app. In this study, we found that ruminating during the day was associated with subsequent increased craving for alcohol in the evening; however, only craving was a significant predictor of alcohol consumption. The findings suggested that targeting rumination may reduce craving, and indirectly alcohol consumption. An audience member commented on the fact that mobile phone ownership might be a barrier for participation among people with substance use disorders; however, this didn’t appear to be the case in the current study.
Personalised functional imagery training
Next, Chloe Shuai presented findings from a pilot randomised controlled trial of online personalised functional imagery training to improve drinking outcomes among hazardous drinkers. Whilst the intervention and the control group did not differ in the amount of alcohol consumed over the follow-up period, those in the intervention group reported increased self-efficacy of control over negative affect drinking and alcohol consumption, and decreased social drinking motives. I asked Chloe whether the lack of impact on the quantity of alcohol consumption may be underlined by a lack of motivation to reduce drinking in the study population, as this consisted mostly of university students. Chloe reflected that this would be an interesting factor to take into account in a future study.
Alcohol during COVID-19
Anna Tovmasyan then presented an experience sampling study which investigated how daily affective states and social context influence alcohol consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being around other people, and certain affective states such as high enthusiasm, low alertness, and shame were found to predict drinking onset. It was not, however, clear whether individuals decided to drink in order to cope with shame or other affective states, which is what Anya is aiming to assess in her next study by linking cognition (drinking expectancies) to emotions.
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