Gender-Specific Effects of Mood on Alcohol-Seeking Behaviors: Preliminary Findings Using Intravenous Alcohol Self-Administration

Melissa A. Cyders, J. Davis Vanderveen, Martin Plawecki, James B. Millward, James Hays, David A. Kareken, Sean O'Connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Although negative mood has long been implicated in differences in alcohol seeking by men and women, little research has used precise, well-controlled laboratory experiments to examine how negative mood affects alcohol-seeking behaviors. Methods: A total of 34 (19 women) community-dwelling, alcohol-using adults aged 21 to 32 (mean age = 24.86, SD = 3.40, 74.3% Caucasian; Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test [AUDIT] = 10.1, SD = 3.4) completed 2 counterbalanced intravenous alcohol self-administration sessions: one under negative mood and one under neutral mood. Fourteen individuals (9 women; mean age = 25.00, SD = 2.77) participated in an alcohol "liking" experiment (i.e., free access [FA] drinking) and 20 individuals (10 women; mean age = 24.77, SD = 3.73) participated in an alcohol "wanting" experiment, in which gaining access to alcohol required progressively effortful work. There was no significant difference between men and women on the AUDIT, t(32) = -0.38, p = 0.71. Results: Priming with negative mood induction caused a significant decrease in self-reported mood (mean change = -1.85, t(32) = -6.81, p < 0.001), as intended. In FA, negative mood was associated with a significantly increased peak breath alcohol concentration (BrAC; F = 9.41, p = 0.01), with a trend toward a greater effect in men than in women (F = 2.67, p = 0.13). Negative mood also had a significant effect on peak BrAC achieved in the progressive work paradigm (F = 5.28, p = 0.04), with a significantly stronger effect in men (F = 5.35, p = 0.03) than women; men also trended toward more consistent work for alcohol across both neutral and negative sessions. Conclusions: These preliminary findings demonstrate a gender-specific response on how mood affects alcohol seeking and suggest gender-specific interventions to prevent mood-based alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-400
Number of pages8
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Alcohol
  • Gender
  • Intravenous Infusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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