M.E. van Hemel-Ruiter
P.J. de Jong
- Reward sensitivity, attentional bias, and executive control in early adolescent alcohol use
- Addictive Behaviors
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
This study examined whether attentional bias for alcohol stimuli was associated with alcohol use in young adolescents, and whether the frequently demonstrated relationship between reward sensitivity and adolescent alcohol use would be partly mediated by attentional bias for alcohol cues. In addition, this study investigated the potential moderating role of executive control (EC), and tested whether the relationship between alcohol-related attentional bias and alcohol use was especially present in young adolescents with weak EC. Participants were 86 adolescents (mean age = 14.86), who completed a Visual Probe Task (VPT) as an index of attentional bias, a flanker-task based Attention Network Task (ANT) as an index of EC, the sensitivity of punishment and sensitivity of reward questionnaire (SPSRQ) as an index of reward sensitivity, and an alcohol use questionnaire. High reward sensitivity, high alcohol-related attentional bias, and weak EC were all related to alcohol use. The relationship between reward sensitivity and alcohol use was not mediated by alcohol-related attentional bias. As hypothesized, attentional bias was only associated with alcohol use in participants with weak EC. Together, the present findings are consistent with the view that high reward sensitivity and low EC may be considered as risk factors for adolescent alcohol use. The independent contribution of reward sensitivity and attentional bias might suggest that adolescents who are highly reward sensitive and display an attentional bias for alcohol cues are at even higher risk for excessive alcohol use and developing alcohol abuse problems. Future research using a longitudinal approach would allow an examination of these risk factors on subsequent alcohol use. Treatment implications are discussed, including the importance of strengthening EC and reducing the rewarding value of alcohol use.
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