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Friday, May 24, 2013

Alcohol-Related Biases in Selective Attention and Action Tendency Make Distinct Contributions to Dysregulated Drinking Behaviour

There is increasing evidence that alcohol-related biases in selective attention and action tendency contribute to the eitiology of dysregulated drinking. However, previous research has been equivocal about whether these biases are concurrent manifestations of the same underlying selectivity in a common mechanism, or whether each bias is due to selectivity in a distinct mechanism. Our aim was to distinguish between these positions by assessing whether alcohol-related biases in selective-attention and action tendency uniquely predict the ability to regulate alcohol consumption.
Two groups of undergraduate social drinkers (total N=55) who differed in their ability to regulate their alcohol consumption completed a novel Selective-Attention/Action-Tendency Task (SA/ATT), which separately assessed alcohol-related biases in selective attention and action tendency.
University of Western Australia, Australia.

Selective attention and action tendency were assessed using the SA/ATT, working memory was assessed using the operation-span task, and participant characteristics were assessed using the AUDIT and SOCRATES.
Results indicated that a) there was no significant association between alcohol-related biases in selective attention and action tendency, r = 0.16, p =.274, and b) biases towards alcohol, in both selective attention, β=1.01, odds ratio = 2.74, p = .022, and action tendency, β=1.24, odds ratio = 3.45, p = .015, predicted independent variance in dysregulated-drinker status.
Biases in selective attention and action tendency appear to be distinct mechanisms that independently contribute to difficulty regulating alcohol consumption. Treatment components that could be combined to target both mechanisms may enhance treatment outcomes for alcohol-use disorders.

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