Stress and alcohol use: An experimental investigation of cognitive mechanisms

Katherine A. Buckheit, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Stressors are associated with greater alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and Alcohol Use Disorder. Implicit cognitive processes are key in determining a coping strategy but alcohol and stressors may interfere with these processes. One such process, alcohol attention bias (AtB), has been associated with hazardous and coping-motivated alcohol use patterns. This study 1) tested associations between alcohol AtB, hazardous alcohol use patterns, and coping motivation and 2) tested alcohol AtB as a mediator in the stressor-alcohol relationship. Method: Thirty-nine participants with hazardous alcohol use were randomly assigned to a stress-exposure or control condition. Participants completed assessments of alcohol use patterns, coping motivation, stress response, alcohol craving, and alcohol AtB. Outcome measures were alcohol craving and consumption. Bivariate associations, ANCOVAs, and serial mediation models were used to test hypotheses. Results: Significant associations were found between alcohol AtB, hazardous alcohol use pattern, and coping motivation. Analyses revealed no significant differences in alcohol outcomes and no significant serial mediation effect. Conclusions: Bivariate associations were consistent with previous research. Lack of power to detect significant effects due to small sample size may explain null serial mediation results. Alternative explanations include measurement of alcohol AtB and stress response, which highlight important considerations for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100078
JournalAddiction Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Alcohol
  • Attention bias
  • Implicit cognition
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)


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