Reward drive, rash impulsiveness, and behavioral disinhibition in the prediction of hazardous alcohol use among college students
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Non-dependent levels of heavy drinking have been associated with a number of adverse outcomes. Weekly binge drinking has been shown to increase the likelihood of developing alcohol/drug dependence, liver disease, and losing a driver's license (Dawson, Li, & Grant, 2008). One frequently identified risk factor for hazardous drinking is impulsivity. Research into the biological basis of impulsivity has identified two pathways through which this trait conveys risk for heavy alcohol use: heightened sensitivity to rewards (reward drive), and a propensity to act without forethought (rash impulsiveness). This study sought to investigate the unique contribution of these traits to hazardous drinking in college students, as well as the possible mediating role of behavioral disinhibition. Reward drive and rash impulsiveness were hypothesized to be associated with more hazardous alcohol use, and the effect of rash impulsiveness was predicted to be mediated by behavioral disinhibition. A total of 165 college students were administered the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) to measure hazardous alcohol use, Sensitivity to Reward scale to measure reward drive, and I7 (Impulsiveness) scale to measure rash impulsiveness. Participants were also administered a probabilistic reversal learning task to measure behavioral disinhibition. Results showed rash impulsiveness was significantly associated with greater behavioral disinhibition, while reward drive was associated with less disinhibition. Additionally, both reward drive and rash impulsiveness were associated with more hazardous alcohol use, with each trait accounting for unique variance in drinking. However, behavioral disinhibition was not related to hazardous alcohol use and did not mediate the association between rash impulsiveness and drinking. Findings support the role of reward drive and rash impulsiveness in alcohol misuse, and rash impulsiveness in behavioral disinhibition.While previous research supports a role for behavioral disinhibition in alcohol use disorders, these results suggest it is not a key mechanism through which an impulsive temperament conveys risk for non-dependent hazardous drinking.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Personality, Abilities and Assessment