Gender and Impulsivity: Effects on Cue-Induced Alcohol Craving

Devorah E. Yarmush, Linda Manchery, Peter Luehring-Jones, Joel Erblich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated that trait impulsivity is linked to increased risk of developing alcohol-use disorders and other substance abuse. Impulsivity has also been shown in some studies to potentiate cue-induced drug cravings. Despite considerable evidence of gender differences in impulsivity and drug craving among individuals suffering from alcohol dependence and other drug use, little research has focused on these processes in healthy young men and women who may be at risk for developing alcohol-use disorders. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between impulsivity and cue-induced craving, as well as possible gender differences in these effects among healthy young adults. Methods: To that end, female (n = 22) and male (n = 14) social drinkers aged 18 to 25, recruited from an urban university campus, completed the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and reported their alcohol cravings immediately before and after laboratory exposure to alcohol cues. Results: Findings indicated that exposure to cues elicited increased alcohol cravings, but these effects did not differ by gender. Interestingly, a significant interaction of impulsivity and gender revealed that impulsivity predicted significantly higher cue-induced cravings in women, but not men. Conclusions: Findings underscore the importance of better understanding the interaction of situational factors (e.g., exposure to alcohol cues) and dispositional factors (e.g., impulsivity) as potential contributors to drinking motivation. Future prospective research is needed to identify gender-specific risk factors for the development of problem drinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1052-1057
Number of pages6
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2016


  • Cue-Induced Craving
  • Gender
  • Impulsivity
  • Young Adult


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