For centuries, people have used alcohol to relieve stress—that is, the interpretation of an event as signaling harm, loss, or threat. The organism usually responds to stress with a variety of behavioral, biological, and cognitive changes. Alcohol consumption can result in a stressresponse dampening (SRD) effect, which can be assessed using various measures. Numerous individual differences and situational factors help determine the extent to which a person experiences SRD after consuming alcohol. Individual differences include a family history of alcoholism, personality traits, extent of self-consciousness, cognitive functioning, and gender. situational factors influencing alcohol’s SRD effect include distractions during a stressful sit uation and the timing of drinking and stress. The attention-allocation model and the appraisal disruption model have been advanced to explain the influence of those situational factors. KEYWORDS: AOD (alcohol or other drug) use; psychological stress; tension reduction theory; family AODU (AOD use, abuse, and dependence) history; personality trait; cognition; gender differences; context dynamics; temporal context; theoretical model; literature review. Michael A. Sayette, Ph.D.