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Addict Behav. 2007 Jul;32(7):1367-83. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Explicit and implicit alcohol-related cognitions and the prediction of future drinking in adolescents.

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  • 1Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Both implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions might play a role in the early development of addictive behaviors. In this study, the association between both current and prospective alcohol use and implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions were measured in two different adolescent age groups (N=100; 51 twelve year olds, 49 fifteen year olds). Alcohol-related cognitions were measured on two dimensions (valence and arousal). A new measure, the unipolar Single Target Implicit Association Test (ST-IAT), was used as the implicit measure. A unipolar expectancy questionnaire was used as the explicit measure. Current alcohol use and alcohol use after one year were measured with an alcohol use questionnaire. Abstainers and drinkers differed in both their explicit and implicit alcohol-related cognitions moderated by age and gender. Additionally, a hierarchical regression analysis showed that implicit associations with alcohol added significantly to the prediction of prospective binge drinking, when controlling for grade, gender and explicit alcohol expectancies These results indicate the importance of taking implicit alcohol-related cognitions into account when intervention methods are developed.

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