Title

Trauma exposure and heavy drinking and drug use among college students: Identifying the roles of negative and positive affect lability in a daily diary study

Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

4-1-2018

Abstract

Trauma exposure is linked to heavy drinking and drug use among college students. Extant research reveals positive associations between negative affect lability and both trauma exposure and alcohol use. This study aimed to extend past research by using daily diary methods to test whether (a) individuals with (versus without) trauma exposure experience greater negative and positive affect lability, (b) negative and positive affect lability are associated with heavy drinking and drug use, and (c) negative and positive affect lability mediate the relations between trauma exposure and heavy drinking and drug use. Participants were 1640 college students (M age = 19.2, 54% female, 80% European American) who provided daily diary data for 30 days via online surveys. Daily diaries assessed negative and positive affect and substance use (i.e., percent days of heavy drinking, percent days of drug use, total number of drugs used). Individuals with (versus without) a history of trauma exposure demonstrated higher levels of negative and positive affect lability. Negative, but not positive, affect lability was associated with percent days of heavy drinking, percent days of drug use, and total number of drugs used, and mediated the associations between trauma exposure and heavy drinking and drug use outcomes. Findings provide support for the underlying role of negative affect lability in the relations between trauma exposure and heavy drinking and drug use among college students, suggesting that treatments targeting negative affect lability may potentially serve to reduce heavy drinking and drug use among trauma-exposed college students.

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors

Volume

79

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