A Single Session of Attentional Bias Modification Reduces Alcohol Craving and Implicit Measures of Alcohol Bias in Young Adult Drinkers

Peter Luehring-Jones, Courtney Louis, Tracy A. Dennis-Tiwary, Joel Erblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Attentional bias modification (ABM) techniques for reducing problematic alcohol consumption hold promise as highly accessible and cost-effective treatment approaches. A growing body of literature has examined ABM as a potentially efficacious intervention for reducing drinking and drinking-related cognitions in alcohol-dependent individuals as well as those at-risk of developing problem drinking habits. Methods: This study tested the effectiveness of a single session of visual probe-based ABM training in a cohort of 60 non-treatment-seeking young adult drinkers, with a focus on examining mechanisms underlying training efficacy. Participants were randomly assigned to a single session of active ABM training or a sham training condition in a laboratory setting. Measures of implicit drinking-related cognitions (alcohol Stroop and an Implicit Association Task) and attentional bias (AB; alcohol visual probe) were administered, and subjective alcohol craving was reported in response to in vivo alcohol cues. Results: Results showed that active ABM training, relative to sham, resulted in significant differences in measures of implicit alcohol-related cognition, alcohol-related AB, and self-reports of alcohol craving. Mediation analysis showed that reductions in craving were fully mediated by ABM-related reductions in alcohol-Stroop interference scores, suggesting a previously undocumented relationship between the 2 measures. Conclusions: Results document the efficacy of brief ABM to reduce both implicit and explicit processes related to drinking, and highlight the potential intervention-relevance of alcohol-related implicit cognitions in social drinkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2207-2216
Number of pages10
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume41
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Attentional Bias Modification
  • Cue-Induced Craving
  • Visual Probe
  • Young Adult Drinkers

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