Moderate alcohol consumption is related to reduced risks of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality. Our goal is to advance our understanding of the associations between stress-related factors and alcohol consumption, using cutoff points for alcohol intake that reflect health benefits rather than health risks. Cross-sectional data were used from 4,131 respondents (age 20-65 years) participating in a cohort study in the Netherlands on psychosocial factors and cancer risk. Analyses were performed among drinkers only, for men and women separately. Heavy alcohol intake (>/= 3 glasses per day for men, >/= 2 glasses per day for women) was associated with only a few stress-related factors in multivariate analyses. No significant associations between the total amount of stressors and alcohol intake were found. We conclude that stress-related factors are only marginally associated with a heavy alcohol intake compared with fair drinking, using the safe limits of drinking as cutoff point.