Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Stephen A. Maisto


AAT, Alcohol, approach bias, coping, negative affect, stress

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Drinking to cope with negative affect has been linked to greater alcohol consumption and consequences of use. The combination of negative affect and implicit cognition, or unconscious processing has been theorized as a potential mechanism by which individuals become dependent on alcohol or other drugs. Literature has demonstrated stronger implicit cognitive biases toward alcohol cues in those who drink to cope but has not examined if this effect extends to approach biases to alcohol cues. 63 drinkers classified as high or low in coping motivation were randomized to either a negative affect induction group or a neutral affect control group. Approach biases were assessed both before and after the affect manipulation. It was hypothesized that coping motivated drinkers in the negative affect induction condition would show greater increases in implicit biases to alcohol cues compared to coping motivated drinkers in the neutral affect condition, and non-coping motivated drinkers in either affect condition. Results of testing a hierarchical linear regression model showed that neither coping motivation nor affect condition was associated with approach biases to alcohol. Results from this study have implications for future research on the effect of negative affect on implicit cognition, specifically in terms of the developmental course of implicit biases.


Open Access



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