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Addict Behav. 1999 Jul-Aug;24(4):543-9.

Alcohol cue reactivity and private self-consciousness among male alcoholics.

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  • 1Brown University, USA.


Recent alcohol cue exposure studies have noted that not all alcoholics demonstrate increased reactivity when presented with alcohol-related cues. This study examined the relationship of private self-consciousness (PSC) to subjective, self-report measures of reactivity and measures of negative mood states that involve a focus on internal processes. These subjective measures of reactivity were contrasted with salivary reactivity, an objective measure of reactivity which does not require individual self-report or awareness. A cue reactivity assessment was administered to 47 men meeting DSM-III-R criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence. Our hypothesis, that PSC would predict urge reactivity status and greater levels of negative mood states, was supported. Urge reactors were more likely to be high in PSC, while the proportions of salivary reactors and nonreactors were not significantly different between the high and low PSC groups. Although regression analyses indicated that PSC did not significantly predict urge to drink alcohol, it did predict angry/frustrated mood and sad/depressed mood at the first alcohol trial. These results suggest that individuals high in PSC may benefit more from cue exposure-based treatment, as they are more likely to be urge reactors and to evidence negative mood reactivity. Low PSC individuals may be at higher risk for relapse given they are less able to recognize internal reactions signaling the presence of a high-risk alcohol use situation, and therefore less likely to mobilize coping responses.

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