Resisting temptation: Decreasing alcohol-related affect and drinking behavior by training response inhibition

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Abstract

According to dual-process models, excessive alcohol use emerges when response inhibition ability is insufficient to inhibit automatic impulses to drink alcohol. This study examined whether strengthening response inhibition for alcohol-related cues decreases alcohol intake. Fifty-two heavy drinking students were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: In the beer/no-go condition, participants performed a go/no-go task that consistently paired alcohol-related stimuli with a stopping response, to increase response inhibition for alcohol-related stimuli. In the beer/go condition, in contrast, participants were always required to respond to alcohol-related stimuli during the go/no-go task. Before and after the go/no-go manipulation, we measured weekly alcohol intake and implicit attitudes toward alcohol. In addition, we measured alcohol consumption during a taste test immediately after the go/no-go manipulation. Following the manipulation, participants in the beer/no-go condition demonstrated significantly increased negative implicit attitudes toward alcohol, and a significant reduction in weekly alcohol intake, while participants in the beer/go condition showed a non-significant increase in implicit positive attitudes toward alcohol and a significant increase in weekly alcohol intake. This study demonstrates that repeatedly stopping prepotent responses toward alcohol-related stimuli can be an effective strategy to reduce excessive alcohol use. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-136
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Volume116
Issue number1-3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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