Alcohol consumption is prevalent on college campuses. There are a number of theories that seek to explain the link between alcohol use and mood. The affective-processing model posits that negative affect may interact with subconscious cognitive factors, such as attention bias (AB), to promote drug-seeking behavior. In contrast, the incentive-sensitization model suggests positive mood may drive drug seeking behavior, and this drive may be moderated by cognitive factors (e.g., AB). The current study hypothesized that both positive and negative mood would be associated with drug craving in the moment. It was further hypothesized that AB would moderate mood-craving associations. Participants (n = 69) from a Midwestern University carried a mobile device for 15 days and provided ratings of momentary mood (positive mood, anxiety, anger, and sadness), craving, and attention bias. Across assessments, all four moods were positively associated with momentary craving (p < .05). There were significant interactions of Anxiety x AB, Anger x AB, and Positive Mood x AB; all of which varied by gender. For men, Anxiety (B = .15, p = .004) and Positive Mood (B = .22, p < .001) were more robustly associated with momentary craving when their AB was +1SD above their own mean. For women, Anger (B = .14, p = .001) was more robustly associated with momentary craving when their AB was +1SD above their own mean. These results indicate differential effects of AB on mood by gender. Theoretical models of mood x cognition interactions may have more nuanced effects based on one’s gender. This suggests that different forms of mood may trigger drug seeking behavior for men and women, offering important gender differences in relapse risk.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Moskal, Katie R., "Craving for Attention: Examining Mood and Attention Bias in the Moment as Predictors of Alcohol Craving" (2021). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 982.