Background: Cocaine-dependent individuals demonstrate attentional bias when measured by Stroop color-naming tasks that have been modified to include cocaine-related words. However, the relationship between attentional bias and the treatment-seeking status of cocaine-dependent individuals has never been explored. The purpose of this study was to compare attentional bias towards cocaine-related verbal stimuli between treatment-seeking and nontreatment-seeking cocaine abusers.
Methods: We examined performance on a Stroop task modified to include drug-related words in 17 cocaine-dependent treatment-seeking male participants and 20 cocaine-dependent nontreatment-seeking male participants.
Results: Although treatment seekers reported less experience with cocaine than nontreatment seekers, they exhibited increased response latency and made more errors when identifying the colors of cocaine-related words, relative to neutral words (p<.05), whereas nontreatment seekers did not.
Conclusions: Factors other than a high frequency of cocaine use may contribute to the difference in attentional bias towards cocaine cues between these subgroups of cocaine users.