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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Examining Alcohol and Alcohol-Free Versions of a Simulated Drinking Game Procedure

Drinking games contribute to heavy drinking on college campuses because the rules often result in rapid alcohol consumption and increased risk of negative consequences. The current study used the Simulated Drinking Game Procedure (SDGP) to observe and describe drinking game behavior under controlled laboratory conditions. 

Participants (N = 40) age of 21 and older played a laboratory version of beer pong. Participants were randomly assigned to play with either beer or water, and the study examined the differences in consumption, blood alcohol concentration (BAC) estimates, and subjective experiences within and across the beverage conditions. 

Participants in both beverage conditions viewed the sessions as realistic simulations of actual drinking games. Participants who played with beer consumed more drinks and refused fewer drinks than those served water. Two measures of BAC (calculated formula and breath alcohol device) were correlated with one another and with the amount of alcohol consumed. BAC estimates based on the formula tended to be higher than readings obtained from the breath alcohol device, and the discrepancies between the two measures were higher among female participants. 

The findings suggest that both the alcohol and alcohol-free versions of the SDGP are safe and ecologically valid research tools for examining drinking game behavior. The study highlights the features and limitations of both versions of the SDGP and provides a platform for continued development of the methodology, allowing researchers to address a range of clinically relevant research questions. 

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