Anna Tovmasyan

I am a third year PhD student and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the Edge Hill University’s Psychology Department, working under the supervision of Professor Derek Heim and Dr Rebecca Monk. I hold an MSc in Mental Health Research from the University of Nottingham and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Exeter. My PhD employs experiential sampling methodologies alongside meta analytical techniques to examine how affective states, social context, cognitions and alcohol behaviours interact and shape each other.

Towards an affect intensity reinforcement hypothesis: A systematic review and meta-analyses of the relationship between affective states and alcohol consumption

Aims: While self-medication and positive and negative reinforcement models of alcohol use suggest that there is an association between daily affect and alcohol consumption, findings within the academic literature have been inconsistent. This pre-registered systematic review and meta-analyses interrogated the results from studies amongst non-clinical populations that examine the relationship between daily affective states and alcohol consumption volume.

Methods: A PRISMA guided search of PsychINFO, PsycARTICLES, Science Direct, Wiley Online Library, PubMed, SCOPUS, and JSTOR databases was conducted. Meta-analyses with robust variance estimation yielded 52 eligible studies on negative affect (8203 participants, 126 effect sizes) and 34 studies for positive affect (6232 participants, 49 effect sizes).

Results: The pooled associations with intra-day affect and alcohol consumption were ‘r’ = .09, 95% CI [.03, .14] for negative affect, and ‘r’ = .18, 95% CI [.03, .31] for positive affect, and were both statistically significant. While publication bias was suspected, P-curve analyses suggested that the results are unlikely to be the product of p-hacking alone. For negative affect, lab studies demonstrated higher effect sizes. For positive affect, the results demonstrated a decline of this observed effect over time.

Conclusions: Overall, findings point towards a need for an affect intensity model of alcohol use, which conceptualises affect intensity as being a more important determinant of drinking volume, as opposed to particular positive or negative affective states.