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Does it work and does it last? Effects of social and drinking behavior on same and next day mood

Mood can greatly be impacted by social and drinking behavior. It is also known that mood can affect behavior and also be a behavioral reinforcer. This study looks at how both actions affect mood the day of and the next day. The hope is to determine if social drinking increases positive mood and compare that to social non-drinking. If it is found that mood is impacted by the social aspect of the behavior, this information can be used to focus interventions on reinforcing non-drinking social activity rather than non-drinking activity alone.

To complete the study the researchers surveyed 352 college students from a large public university (mean age of 19.7). The participants had to endorse drinking two or more times per week to be considered for the study. Automated telephone interviews were used three times daily for four 2-week intervals over the span of one year. The researchers asked the participants to measure their mood along with their drinking behavior, including if it was social drinking. They used a multilevel model which can represent a longitudinal study with individual’s responses over time correlating to each other.

The study showed that around 36% observed days included drinking behavior for participants. 69% of the observed days where spent being social with 93% of these social days including drinking. It was also found that overall mood was increased on drinking and social days. However, drinking the previous day resulted in reduced positive mood the next day whereas being social the previous day resulted in reduced negative mood the next day. With this information, interventions can be focused on encouraging those struggling with low mood to decrease alcohol consumption and increase non-social activity to increase overall mood.

Take Away: Mood in college students can be affected by social and drinking behavior. Knowing their correlations on mood can help to target interventions to increase mood while decreasing drinking behavior for those at risk. The researchers found that while drinking along with social behavior increases same day mood, drinking results in a decreased next day mood. Non-drinking social behavior in contrast results in increased next day mood. Interventions that focus on providing those at risk with non-drinking social activities rather than simply non-drinking activities may provide an increased benefit.

Cronce, J. M., Zimmerman, L., Rhew, I. C., Cadigan, J. M., Atkins, D. C., & Lee, C. M. (2019). Does it work and does it last? Effects of social and drinking behavior on same and next day mood. Addictive Behaviors, 106111. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106111

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