Relations among stress, Coping strategies, Coping motives, Alcohol consumption and related problems: A mediated moderation model

William Corbin, Nicole M. Farmer, Susan Nolen-Hoekesma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Although prominent models of alcohol use and abuse implicate stress as an important motivator of alcohol consumption, research has not consistently identified a relationship between stress and drinking outcomes. Presumably stress leads to heavier alcohol consumption and related problems primarily for individuals who lack other adaptive methods for coping effectively with stressful experiences. To test this hypothesis, we examined four adaptive coping approaches (active coping, planning, suppression of competing activities, and restraint), as predictors of alcohol use and related problems as well as moderators of relations between stress and drinking outcomes in an undergraduate population (N= 225). Further, we examined coping motives for drinking as potential mediators of the effects of coping strategies as well as stress by coping strategy interactions. Analyses supported both restraint and suppression of competing activities as moderators of the influence of stress on alcohol use but not problems. The stress by restraint interaction was also evident in the prediction of coping motives, and coping motives were related to higher levels of both weekly drinking and alcohol-related problems. Finally, coping motives for drinking served to mediate the stress by restraint interaction on weekly drinking. Overall, these results suggest that efforts to suppress competing activities and restrain impulsive responses in the face of stress may reduce the risk for heavy drinking during the transition from high school to college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1912-1919
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Alcohol
  • Coping motives
  • Coping strategies
  • Restraint
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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