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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2007 May;68(3):379-84.

The relationship between prospective self-rating of alcohol sensitivity and craving and experimental results from two alcohol challenge studies.

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  • 1University of Colorado, Department of Psychology, Boulder, CO, USA.



Determining whether individuals can provide accurate reports of alcohol sensitivity and craving, outside of a laboratory alcohol challenge, has important research and clinical implications. The primary goals of the present study are (1) to test the relationship between prospective self-ratings of the effects of alcohol and alcohol craving, and experimental results from alcohol challenge studies and (2) to examine potential moderators of that relationship.


Participants were heavy drinkers who completed either an intravenous (n = 49) or an oral administration (n = 135) alcohol challenge. Participants were asked to estimate their craving for alcohol in a drinking situation and their subjective intoxication after consuming three drinks. Subjective intoxication and alcohol craving were then assessed during the laboratory alcohol challenge.


Estimated subjective intoxication and alcohol craving were significant predictors of subjective intoxication and craving measured under laboratory conditions and accounted for, at most, 16% and 37%, respectively, of the variance in laboratory measures.


Taken together, these findings suggest that sensitivity to the effects of alcohol and alcohol craving may be measured outside of the laboratory but that scales that are especially designed for nonlaboratory studies may be required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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