Subscribe: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6
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Preview: Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 17, Iss 6

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 25, Iss 3

Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one centr

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2017 10:00:37 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Psychological Association

A systematic review of the free-pour assessment: Implications for research, assessment and intervention.


Excessive alcohol consumption is a major concern. Alcohol consumption data are typically collected via self-report questionnaires. However, research has suggested that individuals are unable to identify a standard drink size and that their self-report may be influenced by certain environmental conditions, calling into question the reliability and validity of self-report. The free-pour is an objective measure that may provide a clearer picture of current alcohol consumption trends, individuals’ knowledge of standard drink sizes, and accuracy of self-report. This systematic review of existing free-pour assessment methods suggests that individuals are unable to identify and pour standard drink sizes, with the largest discrepancies occurring for liquor and wine pours and pours into larger and wider glasses. Additional variables that appear to influence pouring behavior are gender, pouring location (e.g., home or laboratory), pouring task (e.g., selecting a line or physically pouring), and drinking history; however, additional research is necessary to better understand the effects of these variables on pouring behavior. These findings have important implications for the accuracy of self-report measures, as well as clinical implications for alcohol use screenings, alcohol education courses, and brief interventions for alcohol use. The systematic review concludes with recommendations for practical applications and future research of the free-pour assessment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Protective behavioral strategies as a context-specific mediator: A multilevel examination of within- and between-person associations of daily drinking.


Research indicates that a drinker’s environmental and social context can be differentially associated with drinking outcomes. Further, although many researchers have identified that more frequent use of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) is associated with lower alcohol consumption and negative consequences, scant research has examined how one’s drinking context may promote or hinder PBS use. The present study examined how the context of drinking each day (i.e., where and with whom) is associated with level of consumption and reported alcohol-related problems among n = 284 college drinkers (69.0% female) directly, as well as indirectly through the use of PBS. Two different dimensions of PBS are examined (i.e., “Limits” or limiting consumption, and “Avoidance” or avoiding alcohol in general or specific alcohol situations), as well as their relationship with daily drinking. Moreover, we explored these relationships intraindividually (within-person across time), as well as interindividually (between people). Daily drinking was assessed using a weekly diary design. Using multilevel structural equation modeling, we found that environmental context (i.e., drinking at a bar or party) is associated with heavier alcohol use directly and indirectly through PBS that involve limiting one’s drinking; these effects occurred only at the daily (within-person) level. Additionally, social context (i.e., drinking with friends) predicts elevated drinking but is unrelated to PBS use. Similar findings were present for alcohol-related problems, controlling for consumption level. College student drinking interventions may benefit from a focus on increasing the use of PBS within potentially risky drinking environments to help reduce problematic alcohol use. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Distress tolerance and physiological reactivity to stress predict women’s problematic alcohol use.


Research has shown that measures of reactivity to distress—including distress tolerance and physiological reactivity to stress—are dysregulated in women who misuse alcohol. These variables may interact and create a risk profile for young adult women, reflecting patterns of stress reactivity that confer a risk for alcohol misuse. The current study tested this hypothesis by examining the independent and interactive associations of subjective distress tolerance, behavioral distress tolerance, and physiological stress reactivity with women’s alcohol misuse. The study was conducted with a sample of 91 college women recruited on a large northeastern university campus. Results showed that subjective levels of distress tolerance and physiological reactivity to stress (skin conductance reactivity, SCR), but not behavioral distress tolerance, were independently associated with alcohol misuse. In addition, subjective distress tolerance moderated the relationship between SCR and negative alcohol-related consequences. Specifically, women with low physiological reactivity (SCR) to a stressful task and greater urge to quickly rid themselves of distress (low subjective distress tolerance) endorsed a significantly greater number of adverse consequences from their alcohol use. These results extend prior findings by showing that, even among a nonclinical sample of women, lower stress reactivity in combination with low subjective distress tolerance is associated with increased risk for various drinking-related negative consequences. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

How actions taken (or not) under alcohol influence inhibitory control and perceived impairment.


Consumption of alcohol can lead to the impairment of the ability to suppress inappropriate responses. However, alcohol-induced disinhibition does not occur in all contexts in the real world. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine if actions taken (or not) under alcohol will impact observed inhibitory control and how behavioral control requirements under alcohol alter perceived levels of impairment. Participants (n = 40) of equal sex who were social drinkers participated in a 3 session laboratory study that involved the administration of placebo, 0.45g/kg, and 0.65g/kg doses of alcohol. Participants were randomly assigned to a modified cued go/no-go reaction time (RT) task that included more go trials (activational condition) or more no-go trials (inhibitory condition). On all sessions after dose administration, participants completed their assigned cued go/no-go computer task and gave subjective ratings of impairment. The results indicated that participants in the activational condition under all doses of alcohol, but particularly the highest dose of alcohol, displayed poorer behavioral control (i.e., greater inhibitory failures) but self-reported lower perceived impairment, when compared to participants in the inhibitory condition. Therefore, this study provides laboratory evidence that alcohol consumption in an active setting will lead to greater disinhibition and reduced perceptions of impairment of behavior. The findings highlight the importance of the drinking setting when examining the acute effects of alcohol and suggest potential avenues for harm reduction for individuals who have difficulty controlling their alcohol intake. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Effects of alcohol, initial gambling outcomes, impulsivity, and gambling cognitions on gambling behavior using a video poker task.


Drinking and gambling frequently co-occur, and concurrent gambling and drinking may lead to greater negative consequences than either behavior alone. Building on prior research on the effects of alcohol, initial gambling outcomes, impulsivity, and gambling cognitions on gambling behaviors using a chance-based (nonstrategic) slot-machine task, the current study explored the impact of these factors on a skill-based (strategic) video poker task. We anticipated larger average bets and greater gambling persistence under alcohol relative to placebo, and expected alcohol effects to be moderated by initial gambling outcomes, impulsivity, and gambling cognitions. Participants (N = 162; 25.9% female) were randomly assigned to alcohol (target BrAC = .08g%) or placebo and were given $10 to wager on a simulated video poker task, which was programmed to produce 1 of 3 initial outcomes (win, breakeven, or lose) before beginning a progressive loss schedule. Despite evidence for validity of the video poker task and alcohol administration paradigm, primary hypotheses were not supported. Individuals who received alcohol placed smaller wagers than participants in the placebo condition, though this effect was not statistically significant, and the direction of effects was reversed in at-risk gamblers (n = 41). These findings contradict prior research and suggest that alcohol effects on gambling behavior may differ by gambling type (nonstrategic vs. strategic games). Interventions that suggest alcohol is universally disinhibiting may be at odds with young adults’ lived experience and thus be less effective than those that recognize the greater complexity of alcohol effects. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Time constraints in the alcohol purchase task.


Hypothetical purchase tasks have advanced behavioral economic evaluations of demand by circumventing practical and ethical restrictions associated with delivering drug reinforcers to participants. Numerous studies examining the reliability and validity of purchase task methodology suggest that it is a valuable method for assessing demand that warrants continued use and evaluation. Within the literature examining purchase tasks, the alcohol purchase task (APT) has received the most investigation, and currently represents the most experimentally validated variant. However, inconsistencies in purchase task methodology between studies exist, even within APT studies, and, to date, none have assessed the influence of experimental economic constraints on responding. This study examined changes in Q0 (reported consumption when drinks are free), breakpoint (price that suppresses consumption), and α (rate of change in demand elasticity) in the presence of different hypothetical durations of access to alcohol in an APT. One hundred seventy-nine participants (94 males, 85 females) from Amazon Mechanical Turk completed 3 APTs that varied in the duration of time at a party (i.e., access to alcoholic beverages) as described in the APT instructions (i.e., vignette). The 3 durations included 5-hr (used by Murphy et al., 2013), 1-hr, and 9-hr time frames. We found that hypothetical duration of access was significantly related to Q0 and breakpoint at the individual level. Additionally, group-level mean α decreased significantly with increases in duration of access, thus indicating relatively higher demand for alcohol with longer durations of access. We discuss implications for conducting hypothetical purchase task research and alcohol misuse prevention efforts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Stimulus selectivity of drug purchase tasks: A preliminary study evaluating alcohol and cigarette demand.


The use of drug purchase tasks to measure drug demand in human behavioral pharmacology and addiction research has proliferated in recent years. Few studies have systematically evaluated the stimulus selectivity of drug purchase tasks to demonstrate that demand metrics are specific to valuation of or demand for the commodity under study. Stimulus selectivity is broadly defined for this purpose as a condition under which a specific stimulus input or target (e.g., alcohol, cigarettes) is the primary determinant of behavior (e.g., demand). The overall goal of the present study was to evaluate the stimulus selectivity of drug purchase tasks. Participants were sampled from the’s crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk. Participants completed either alcohol and soda purchase tasks (Experiment 1; N = 139) or cigarette and chocolate purchase tasks (Experiment 2; N = 46), and demand metrics were compared to self-reported use behaviors. Demand metrics for alcohol and soda were closely associated with commodity-similar (e.g., alcohol demand and weekly alcohol use) but not commodity-different (e.g., alcohol demand and weekly soda use) variables. A similar pattern was observed for cigarette and chocolate demand, but selectivity was not as consistent as for alcohol and soda. Collectively, we observed robust selectivity for alcohol and soda purchase tasks and modest selectivity for cigarette and chocolate purchase tasks. These preliminary outcomes suggest that demand metrics adequately reflect the specific commodity under study and support the continued use of purchase tasks in substance use research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Marijuana and tobacco cigarettes: Estimating their behavioral economic relationship using purchasing tasks.


Although marijuana and tobacco are commonly coused, the nature of their relationship has not been fully elucidated. Behavioral economics has characterized the relationship between concurrently available commodities but has not been applied to marijuana and tobacco couse. U.S. adults ≥18 years who coused marijuana and tobacco cigarettes were recruited via Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing service by Amazon. Participants (N = 82) completed online purchasing tasks assessing hypothetical marijuana or tobacco cigarette puff consumption across a range of per-puff prices; 2 single-commodity tasks assessed these when only 1 commodity was available, and 2 cross-commodity tasks assessed these in the presence of a concurrently available fixed-price commodity. Purchasing tasks generated measures of demand elasticity, that is, sensitivity of consumption to prices. In single-commodity tasks, consumption of tobacco cigarette puffs (elasticity of demand: α = 0.0075; 95% confidence interval [0.0066, 0.0085], R² = 0.72) and of marijuana puffs (α = .0044; 95% confidence interval [0.0038, 0.0049], R² = 0.71) declined significantly with increases in price per puff. In cross-commodity tasks when both tobacco cigarette puffs and marijuana puffs were available, demand for 1 commodity was independent of price increases in the other commodity (ps > .05). Results revealed that, in this small sample, marijuana and tobacco cigarettes did not substitute for each other and did not complement each other; instead, they were independent of each other. These preliminary results can inform future studies assessing the economic relationship between tobacco and marijuana in the quickly changing policy climate in the United States. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Does menthol cigarette use moderate the effect of nicotine metabolism on short-term smoking cessation?


The nicotine metabolite ratio (NMR) has been shown to predict response to the transdermal nicotine patch, such that faster nicotine metabolism is associated with a lower abstinence rate. Menthol cigarette use, versus nonmenthol cigarette use, slows nicotine metabolism and therefore may attenuate the effect of NMR on smoking abstinence. In this study, we evaluated whether cigarette type (menthol vs. nonmenthol) modified the association between NMR and short-term abstinence. This was a secondary analysis examining treatment in the first 8 weeks of 21 mg/day nicotine patch therapy in a completed clinical trial (n = 474). Menthol cigarette use was based on self-report. NMR was defined dichotomously (0 = fast, 1 = slow) to distinguish between fast (≥0.47) versus slow NMR. Using logistic regression analysis, we tested whether cigarette type moderated the association between NMR and bioverified 7-day point prevalence abstinence at Week 8. Covariates include nicotine dependence, age, race, and gender. Three hundred two participants reported smoking menthol cigarettes, of which 234 (77%) were classified as slow NMR. Among the 172 nonmenthol smokers, 136 were classified as slow NMR (79%). Contrary to our expectations, the NMR ×Cigarette Type interaction effect on abstinence was not significant (odds ratio [OR] = 0.91, p = .86). Excluding the interaction variable, fast NMR was associated with decreased likelihood of abstinence (OR = 0.55, p = .03), but menthol cigarette use was not (OR = 1.15, p = .56). Further exploration of risk factors among menthol cigarette smokers, especially among racially diverse and light smokers, could clarify the association between menthol cigarette use and poorer smoking outcomes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Impaired psychomotor function and plasma methadone and levo-alpha-acetylmethadol (LAAM) concentrations in opioid-substitution patients.


Tolerance to the psychomotor impairing effects of opioid drugs is expected to develop with repeated dosing, but may be incomplete. The relationship between plasma opioid concentration and psychomotor function in opioid-dependent patients was examined to determine whether impairment was more likely at the time of highest plasma drug concentration. Sixteen patients participating in a cross-over trial comparing methadone and LAAM completed a tracking task (OSPAT) 11 times over the dosing-interval for methadone (24-hrs) and LAAM (48-hrs). Venous blood was collected for the quantification of plasma (R)-(−)-methadone, LAAM, and nor-LAAM concentrations. The Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) and Trail-Making Test were administered at the time of peak plasma concentration. Ten healthy controls (HCs) also participated. OSPAT scores (obtained for 15 patients) fluctuated significantly across the dosing-interval for both drugs and were lower in patients than HCs at the times of peak concentrations of (R)-(−)-methadone (1 hr: (mean difference; 95% CI) (2.13; 0.18–4.08); 2 hrs: (2.38; 0.48–4.28) postdosing) and LAAM (2 hrs: (1.81; 0.09–3.53), and 4 hrs (1.90: 0.9–3.71) postdosing). Within-participant analysis of the peak-change from baseline for OSPAT scores found that 10 of the 15 patients could be categorized as impaired on methadone and 9 on LAAM. No HCs were impaired. Patients performed worse on the DSST and Trails-A than HCs, but not on Trails-B. Results suggest that some patients receiving opioids long term may exhibit impairment at the time of highest plasma drug concentration. These patients should be made aware that their ability to undertake complex tasks may be affected. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)(image)