Do daily fluctuations in inhibitory control predict alcohol consumption? An ecological momentary assessment study

Andrew Jones, Brian Tiplady, Katrijn Houben, Chantal Nederkoorn, Matt Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

RATIONALE: Deficient inhibitory control is predictive of increased alcohol consumption in the laboratory; however, little is known about this relationship in naturalistic, real-world settings.

OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we implemented ecological momentary assessment methods to investigate the relationship between inhibitory control and alcohol consumption in the real world.

METHODS: Heavy drinkers who were motivated to reduce their alcohol consumption (N = 100) were loaned a smartphone which administered a stop signal task twice per day at random intervals between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. for 2 weeks. Each day, participants also recorded their planned and actual alcohol consumption and their subjective craving and mood. We hypothesised that day-to-day fluctuations in inhibitory control (stop signal reaction time) would predict alcohol consumption, over and above planned consumption and craving.

RESULTS: Multilevel modelling demonstrated that daily alcohol consumption was predicted by planned consumption (β = .816; 95% CI .762-.870) and craving (β = .022; 95% CI .013-.031), but inhibitory control did not predict any additional variance in alcohol consumption. However, secondary analyses demonstrated that the magnitude of deterioration in inhibitory control across the day was a significant predictor of increased alcohol consumption on that day (β = .007; 95% CI .004-.011), after controlling for planned consumption and craving.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate that short-term fluctuations in inhibitory control predict alcohol consumption, which suggests that transient fluctuations in inhibition may be a risk factor for heavy drinking episodes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487–1496
Number of pages10
JournalPsychopharmacology
Volume235
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Keywords

  • Journal Article
  • STOP-SIGNAL PARADIGM
  • Inhibitory control
  • SOCIAL DRINKERS
  • SUBSTANCE USE
  • RESTRAINT INVENTORY
  • SELF-CONTROL
  • Craving
  • DEPENDENT PATIENTS
  • Alcohol
  • TIMELINE FOLLOW-BACK
  • BEHAVIORAL IMPULSIVITY
  • Stop signal task
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • RESPONSE-INHIBITION
  • USE DISORDERS

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