- Alcohol‐related interpretation bias in alcohol-dependent patients
- Alcoholism - Clinical and Experimental Research
- Volume | Issue number
- 38 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Background: Models of addictive behaviors postulate that implicit alcohol-related memory associations and biased interpretation processes contribute to the development and maintenance of alcohol misuse and abuse. The present study examined whether alcohol-dependent patients (AP) show an alcohol-related interpretation bias. Second, the relationship between the interpretation bias and levels of harmful drinking was investigated.
Methods: The sample included 125 clinically diagnosed AP and 69 clinically diagnosed control patients (CP) who had either a mood or an anxiety disorder. Participants completed a booklet containing 12 open-ended ambiguous scenarios. Seven scenarios were alcohol-relevant, and 5 were emotionally relevant, that is, panic- or depression-relevant. Participants were asked to read each scenario and to generate a continuation. In addition, the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT) and Beck Depression Inventory were administered.
Results: Logistic multivariate multilevel analyses revealed that AP’ probability of generating an alcohol-related continuation on all 3 scenario types was higher than that of CP. Moreover, alcohol-related interpretation biases were positively associated with levels of harmful drinking (i.e., AUDIT scores).
Conclusions: These findings are the first to show that AP show an alcohol-related interpretation bias, which generalizes to other ambiguous emotionally relevant contexts, and therefore advance our understanding of the role of implicit biased alcohol-related memory associations and interpretation processes.
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