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A Daily Process Approach to Individual Differences in Stress-Related Alcohol Use


  • Stephen Armeli, Department of Psychology, Pace University; Michael Todd, Prevention Research Center/PIRE; Cynthia Mohr, Department of Psychology, Portland State University. This research and preparation of this manuscript were supported by grants T32-AA07290, R29 AA09917, P50-AA03510, P60-AA06282 from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

concerning this article should be addressed to Stephen Armeli, Department of Psychology, Pace University, 41 Park Row, New York, NY 10038; e-mail:


Abstract In our research we have used a variety of daily designs (paper-and-pencil or Internet-based daily diaries, experience sampling via palmtop computers) to examine how individual differences in coping styles, alcohol-outcome expectancies, and drinking motives predict stress-related and negative affect-related alcohol use. Our work has furthered research in this area in two ways. First, we have examined how these risk factors are associated with within-person associations among temporally proximal reports of stressors, negative affect, and alcohol use. Second, we have examined whether purportedly stable individual-difference factors demonstrate meaningful within-person variation and thus also might be conceptualized as important process variables. Our findings from this line of research, along with those from new data that we present, indicate some disparities between the results found at the within-person versus the between-person levels of analysis. More importantly, this line of research offers insights into questions that could not be addressed using traditional cross-sectional or long-term longitudinal designs. Limitations and future directions are discussed.