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Zetteler et al, 2006 - Alcohol Alcoholism Vol 41 No 4 pp...

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Alcohol & Alcoholism Vol. 41, No. 4, pp. 426–430, 2006 doi:10.1093/alcalc/agl026 Advance Access publication 19 April 2006 ATTENTIONAL BIAS FOR ALCOHOL-RELATED INFORMATION IN ADOLESCENTS WITH ALCOHOL-DEPENDENT PARENTS JESSICA I. ZETTELER 1 , BRIAN T. STOLLERY 2 *, AVIV M. WEINSTEIN 3 and ANNE R. LINGFORD-HUGHES 4,5 1 Academic Unit of Psychiatry, Cotham House, Bristol BS6 6JL and 2 Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TN, UK, 3 Neuropsychiatric (PET/SPECT) Brain Imaging Laboratory, Department of Nuclear Medicine, Sourasky Medical Centre, Weizman 6, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel, 4 Bristol Area Specialist Alcohol Service, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, 12 Mortimer Road, Bristol BS8 4EX and 5 The Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Bristol, Dorothy Hodgkin Building, Whitson Street, Bristol BS1 3NY, UK ( Received 2 June 2005; first review notified 7 July 2005; accepted in revised form 16 March 2006; advance access publication 19 April 2006) Abstract Aims: to assess the attentional bias for alcohol-related information in adolescents with ( n = 15), and without ( n = 15), a parental history of alcohol dependence. Methods: participants completed questionnaires assessing depression, weekly alcohol consumption, anxiety, and concerns about alcohol consumption and undertook subliminal and supraliminal computerized Stroop tasks using colour-words, alcohol-related words, and control words. Results: adolescents with alcohol-dependent parents showed supralim- inal interference for alcohol-related words. The magnitude of this interference was correlated with higher trait and state anxiety, and lower levels of weekly alcohol consumption. No interference was found on the subliminal alcohol Stroop task. Conclusions: while it is likely that this attentional bias for alcohol-related cues reflects the concerns regarding parental drinking, it is also possible that this might underlie the increased risk of future alcohol dependence in the children of alcohol-dependent parents. INTRODUCTION Alcohol dependence involves a strong and compulsive desire to consume alcohol, arising from the wish to either experience its positive effects or avoid the aversive experiences produced by its absence (Ludwig and Wikler, 1974). Cognitive models explain alcohol use in terms of automatic and non-automatic processes (Tiffany, 1990; Tiffany and Conklin, 2000) where, over the course of repeated experiences with alcohol, the cog- nitive systems mediating drinking behaviour in alcohol- dependent individuals become automatic. In eliciting stimulus conditions, the action schema for alcohol use are activated and craving represents the ‘operation of nonautomatic cognitive processes activated to facilitate or impede the execution of automatized drug-use action schemata’ (Tiffany, 1990, p. 159). This model, therefore, proposes that the mere pre- sentation of stimuli that have become associated with drug- use behaviour can trigger the execution of the automatized sequence of behaviours.
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