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J Stud Alcohol. 1991 May;52(3):205-14.

Anticipated and subjective sensitivities to alcohol.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City 66103.


The development and maintenance of alcohol use patterns may depend, in part, on differences between how an individual anticipates he will respond to alcohol and how he appears to others when he is drinking. Such differences may introduce bias in decisions regarding which activities are safe while under the influence of an intoxicating amount of alcohol. This study of 387 participants of the Colorado Alcohol Research on Twins and Adoptees project examined the interrelationships of anticipated, subjective and observer-judged sensitivity to a blood alcohol concentrations of about 0.1 g/dl (approximated by breath alcohol concentration). Differences among the sensitivity measures were dependent upon recent alcohol drinking history and individual differences in actual sensitivity (as observer-rated). The results were consistent with hypotheses that people with little drinking experience may overestimate how intoxicated they will be, that heavier drinkers may develop chronic tolerance to the intoxicating effects and that denial may play a role in both subjective and anticipated sensitivity.

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