Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

James M. Henson (Director)

Committee Member

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Christopher A. Sink


The present study examined drinking to cope (DTC) motives and state mindfulness (via a brief mindfulness induction) as two distinct factors that may enhance (DTC) and reduce (state mindfulness) the association between negative mood states (i.e., sadness and anxiety) and the incentive salience of alcohol (i.e., subjective alcohol craving and attentional bias for alcohol-related cues) among college student drinkers. Participants were 207 undergraduate students from a large, southeastern university in the United States that consumed at least one drink per typical week in the previous month. The majority of participants identified as being either White, non-Hispanic (n = 81; 39.1%), or African-American (n = 86; 41.6%), were female (n = 170; 82.1%), and reported a mean age of 20.94 (SD = 5.48) years. Results indicated that at both pre and post-mindfulness induction assessments, higher levels of both DTC-depression and DTC-anxiety motives were related to higher subjective alcohol craving. Further, collapsing across mood groups (i.e., sadness vs mood control) and at average levels of both DTC-depression and DTC-anxiety motives, individuals in the mindfulness condition reported a significant change score (i.e., reduction) in subjective alcohol craving scores at post-mindfulness induction compared to individuals in the no-mindfulness condition. Albeit preliminary, the present study offers support for mindfulness as a beneficial alternative coping strategy to drinking to cope among college student drinkers. Future work is needed to replicate these findings and examine how DTC motives, emotional mood states, and state mindfulness interrelate among college student drinkers within an ecological momentary framework.


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