Alcohol cue reactivity, negative-mood reactivity, and relapse in treated alcoholic men

J Abnorm Psychol. 1997 May;106(2):243-50. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.106.2.243.


Relapsed alcoholic individuals frequently report that negative emotional states trigger their return to drinking. A parametric laboratory study was conducted to assess the separate and combined effects of exposure to alcohol-related stimuli and induced negative moods in abstinent alcoholic persons. The authors also sought to determine if reactivity to alcohol cues or reactivity to negative mood induction predicted relapse soon after treatment. Men with alcoholism (N = 50) undergoing inpatient treatment participated in a guided imagery procedure designed to induce negative moods and were then exposed to either their favorite alcoholic beverage or to spring water. Results indicated that both alcoholic beverage presentation and negative affect imagery led to increased subjective reporting of desire to drink. These effects were additive but not multiplicative (i.e., the interaction of mood state with beverage type was not significant). Reported urge to drink during the trial that combined negative mood imagery with alcoholic beverage exposure predicted time to relapse after inpatient discharge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / prevention & control
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Arousal*
  • Cues*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Recurrence