Positive but not negative affect is associated with increased daily drinking likelihood in non-clinical populations: systematic review and meta-analyses


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Background. Recent meta-analytical findings indicate that affect regulation plays an important role in alcohol craving, consumption volume, and substance use. However, in view of mixed findings, the affect and drinking likelihood literature remains in need of clarification and consolidation. Objectives. This systematic review and meta-analyses interrogated the results from peer-reviewed studies amongst non-clinical populations that examined the relationship between daily affective states and intraday likelihood of alcohol consumption. Method. A PRISMA guided search of PsychINFO, PsycARTICLES, Science Direct, Wiley Online Library, PubMed, SCOPUS, and JSTOR databases was conducted. Multilevel meta-analyses yielded 11 eligible negative affect studies (2751 participants, 23 effect sizes) and nine studies on positive affect (2244 participants, 14 effect sizes). Results. The pooled associations between intra-day affect and alcohol consumption likelihood revealed no significant association between negative affective state and drinking likelihood (OR = .90, 95% CI [.73, 1.12]) and that positive affect was associated with increased drinking likelihood (OR = 1.17, 95% CI [1.09, 1.27]). Egger’s test, P-curve, fail-safe N, and selection models analyses suggested that the obtained results were unlikely to be the product of publication bias and p-hacking alone. Conclusions. Results converge to suggest that, independent of age, affect measure used, and study design, a significant albeit modest relationship between positive affect and alcohol consumption likelihood exists, which does not appear to be the case for negative affect. In conjunction with other recent meta-analyses, current findings help map out a more nuanced understanding of the affect-alcohol/substance use relationship, with potential implications for interventions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Early online date29 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2022


  • Alcohol consumption
  • drinking likelihood
  • Positive Affect
  • negative affect
  • emotions
  • mood
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis


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