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APA Journal: Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

Sedentary college student drinkers can start exercising and reduce drinking after intervention.Open in a New Window

Heavy drinking by college students is exceedingly harmful to the individuals and to the overall college environment. Current interventions to reduce drinking and negative consequences are infrequently utilized. This randomized clinical trial examined an alternative approach that sought to increase exercise behavior, a substance free activity, in sedentary heavy drinking college students. Participants (N = 70) were randomized to an 8-week exercise intervention: (a) motivational interviewing plus weekly exercise contracting (MI + EC) or (b) motivational interviewing and weekly contingency management for exercise (MI + CM). Follow-up evaluations occurred at posttreatment (2 months) and 6 months post baseline. Participants in both interventions significantly increased exercise frequency initially, and the MI + CM participants exercised significantly more than the MI + EC intervention participants during the intervention period (d = 1.70). Exercise behavior decreased during the follow-up period in both groups. Significant reductions in drinking behaviors and consequences were noted over time, but were not related to changes in exercise or the interventions (ds ≤ 0.01). This study underscores the complex nature of promoting 1 specific health behavior change with the goal of changing another. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Online personalized normative alcohol feedback for parents of first-year college students.Open in a New Window

This study examined the efficacy of a personalized normative feedback (PNF) alcohol intervention for parents of students transitioning into college. A sample of 399 parent–student dyads were recruited to take part in the intervention during the summer prior to matriculation. Parents were randomly assigned to receive either normative feedback regarding student drinking and other college parents’ alcohol-related communication or general college health norm information. Students completed measures of alcohol use, alcohol consequences, and parent–child alcohol-specific communication both 1 and 6 months after matriculation. The results indicated that in comparison with the control condition parents who received PNF reported immediate changes in their perceptions of other parents’ behaviors; however, these changes in parent perceived norms did not translate into long-term changes in student drinking behaviors or parent–child communication. Findings highlight the need to consider content beyond normative feedback for parent based alcohol intervention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Hypothetical evaluations of positive and negative alcohol consequences in adolescents across various levels of drinking experience.Open in a New Window

Research supports the importance of the subjective evaluation of alcohol-related consequences, and theory suggests that these evaluations may depend on one’s prior experience. The goal of the present study was to understand how adolescents subjectively evaluate the potential negative and positive consequences of drinking and to test the hypothesis that evaluations differ as a function of personal experience with alcohol use and consequences. Participants were 697 adolescents (55% female) who completed online surveys assessing lifetime drinking experience and hypothetical evaluations of 13 negative and 9 positive consequences. Never having consumed a full drink of alcohol (vs. having consumed a full drink, but not having negative consequences) was significantly associated with higher mean negative evaluations and lower mean positive evaluations. Those who had a full drink (vs. those who had not) rated close to half of the negative consequence items as significantly less bothersome, and all of the positive consequences as significantly more enjoyable. However, there was little evidence in this sample that evaluations differ between drinkers with and without experience with negative consequences. Overall, findings suggest that youth who have experience with simply consuming alcohol may place more value on the positive and less value on some of the negative consequences of drinking, which has the potential to impact decisions to continue to drink. Longitudinal research uncovering the direction of evaluation-experience effects and mechanisms other than consequence experience, are essential next steps. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Drinking motives mediate the relationship between alcohol reward value and alcohol problems in military veterans.Open in a New Window

Elevated alcohol reward value (RV) has been linked to higher levels of drinking and alcohol-related consequences, and there is evidence that specific drinking motives may mediate the relationship between demand and problematic alcohol use in college students, making these variables potentially important indicators of risk for high RV and alcohol problems. The present study evaluated these relationships in a high-risk sample of military veterans. Heavy-drinking (N = 68) veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) completed the alcohol purchase task (APT) measure of alcohol demand (RV), and standard assessments of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and drinking motives. RV was associated with overall alcohol consequences, interpersonal alcohol consequences, social responsibility consequences and impulse control consequences. Mediation analyses indicated significant mediation of the relationships between RV and a number of problem subscales by social motives, coping-anxiety motives, coping-depression motives and enhancement motives. This suggests that individuals who have a high valuation of alcohol may have increased motivation to drink in social, mood-enhancement, and coping situations, resulting in increased alcohol-related consequences. Demand and drinking motives should be examined as potential indicators of need for intervention services and as treatment targets in veterans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Latent growth classes of alcohol-related blackouts over the first 2 years of college.Open in a New Window

Alcohol-related blackouts are common among college student drinkers. The present study extends prior work by examining latent growth classes of blackouts and several predictors of class membership. Participants (N = 709 college drinkers) completed a baseline survey at college entry and biweekly online assessments throughout freshman and sophomore years. Results revealed 5 latent growth class trajectories, reflecting varying experiences of blackouts at the beginning of college and differential change in blackouts over time. The largest class represented a relatively low-risk group (low decrease; 47.3%) characterized by endorsement of no or very low likelihood of blackouts, and decreasing likelihood of blackouts over time. Another decreasing risk group (high decrease; 11.1%) initially reported a high proportion of blackouts and had the steepest decrease in blackout risk over time. A small percentage showed consistently high likelihood of blackouts over time (high stable; 4.1%). The remaining 2 groups were distinguished by relatively moderate (moderate stable; 14.9%) and lower (low stable; 22.6%) likelihood of blackouts, which remained stable over time. Comparisons between classes revealed that students with greater perceived peer drinking, perceived peer approval of drinking, and enhancement motives upon entry to college tended to be in higher risk groups with consistent experiences of blackouts over time, whereas blackout likelihood decreased over time for students with greater conformity motives. Findings suggest that precollege preventive interventions may be strengthened by considering not only factors related to current risk for blackouts and other alcohol-related consequences, but also those factors related to persistence of these behaviors over time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Association of the firewater myth with drinking behavior among American Indian and Alaska Native college students.Open in a New Window

The firewater myth (FM) is the notion that American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol and vulnerable to alcohol problems due to biological or genetic differences. Believing that one is vulnerable to problems with alcohol may have negative effects on expectancies and drinking behavior among AI/ANs who drink; however, the association of belief in the FM with alcohol outcomes has not previously been examined. In this study we examined the factor structure of a revised version of the Firewater Myth Scale (FMS; LaMarr, 2003) and the association of belief in the FM with alcohol use, consequences, attitudes, and expectancies with 159 AI/AN college students who drink. On average, participants “slightly agreed” with the FM and scores were normally distributed. There were significant small to moderate positive associations between believing that AI/ANs have a biological vulnerability to problems with alcohol (i.e., the FM) and drinks consumed per week, frequency of heavy episodic drinking, and alcohol consequences, as well as belief in a disease model of “alcoholism,” attempts to control drinking, guilt over drinking small amounts of alcohol, both positive and negative alcohol expectancies, temptation to drink heavily, and lack of self-efficacy to drink moderately. Although this is only an initial examination of potential consequences of belief in the FM for AI/AN students who drink, the results suggest that this belief may be harmful and have negative effects on attempts to moderate drinking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Intracultural accusations of assimilation and alcohol use severity among Hispanic emerging adults: Moderating effects of acculturation, enculturation, and gender.Open in a New Window

Individuals, including Hispanics, tend to drink most heavily during emerging adulthood (ages 18–25 years old). Research has suggested that intercultural stressors (e.g., ethnic discrimination) may increase levels of alcohol use among Hispanics. However, the relationship between intracultural stressors (e.g., accusations of assimilation—when Hispanics accuse a member of their heritage group of acculturating to U.S. culture) and alcohol use has been examined to a lesser extent. Accordingly, the present study aimed to (a) examine the association between family accusations of assimilation and alcohol use severity; and (b) examine if acculturation domains, enculturation domains, and gender moderated that association. A hierarchical multiple regression and moderation analyses were conducted on a cross-sectional sample of 181 Hispanic emerging adults. Results indicated that higher family accusations of assimilation were associated with higher levels of alcohol use severity (β = .18, p < .05), and all variables entered in the model accounted for ΔR2 = 15.1% of the variance of alcohol use severity. A moderation analysis indicated that higher family accusations of assimilation were associated with higher alcohol use severity among men, but not women. Of the four acculturation/enculturation domains, none had a moderation effect. However, there was a statistically significant three-way interaction among family accusations of assimilation, gender, and affective enculturation. This three-way interaction suggests that among men, higher family accusations of assimilation were associated with higher alcohol use severity at lower levels of affective enculturation. This study addresses a literature gap on intracultural stressors and substance use among Hispanics, and discusses recommendations for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


The substitutability of cigarettes and food: A behavioral economic comparison in normal weight and overweight or obese smokers.Open in a New Window

Obesity and cigarette smoking contribute to a multitude of preventable deaths in the United States and eating and smoking behavior may influence each other. The field of behavioral economics integrates principles from psychology and economics and permits systematic examination of how commodities interrelate with one another. Using this framework, the current study evaluated the effects of rising food and cigarette prices on consumption to investigate their substitutability and their relationship to BMI and associated variables. Behavioral economics categorizes commodities as substitutable when the consumption of one increases as a function of a price increase in the other. Smokers (N = 86) completed a 2-part hypothetical task in which money was allocated to purchase cigarettes and fast-food-style reinforcers (e.g., hamburgers, ice cream) at various prices. Results indicated that food and cigarettes were not substitutes for one another (cross-price elasticity coefficients < .20). Food purchases were independent of cigarette price, whereas cigarette purchases decreased as food price rose. Cross-price elasticity coefficients were significantly associated with confidence in one’s ability to control weight without smoking (rs = −.23 and .29), but not BMI (rs = .04 and .04) or postcessation weight concerns (rs = −.05 and .12). Perceived ability to manage weight without cigarettes may influence who substitutes food for cigarettes when quitting. In addition, given observed decreases in purchases of both commodities as food prices increased, these findings imply that greater taxation of fast-food-style reinforcers could potentially reduce consumption of these foods and also cigarettes among smokers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Association between smoking-related attentional bias and craving measured in the clinic and in the natural environment.Open in a New Window

Previous laboratory studies have investigated associations between attentional bias and craving, but ecological momentary assessment (EMA) may provide ecologically-valid data. This study examines whether clinic-measured attentional bias is associated with noticing smoking cues, attention to smoking, and craving assessed by EMA and whether EMA-assessed cues and attention to smoking are associated with craving in a secondary analysis of data from 100 cigarette smokers attempting cessation. Two weeks before quitting, participants completed attentional bias assessments on visual probe (VP) and Stroop tasks and completed random EMA-assessments for seven weeks thereafter. Participants completed 9,271 random assessments, averaging 3.3 prompts/day. Clinic-measured attentional bias was not associated with cues seen (VP: OR = 1.00, 95% CI = [0.99, 1.01]; Stroop: OR = 1.00, 95% CI [0.99, 1.00]), attention toward smoking (VP: OR = 1.00, 95% CI [0.99, 1.02]; Stroop: OR = 1.00, 95% CI [0.99, 1.00]), or craving (VP: OR = 1.00, 95% CI [0.99, 1.02]; Stroop: OR = 1.00, 95% CI [0.99, 1.01]). EMA responses to seeing a smoking cue (OR = 1.94, 95% CI [1.74, 2.16]) and attention toward smoking (OR = 3.69, 95% CI [3.42, 3.98]) were associated with craving. Internal reliability was higher for the Stroop (α = .75) than visual probe task (α = .20). In smokers attempting cessation, clinic measures of attentional bias do not predict noticing smoking cues, focus on smoking, or craving. However, associations exist between noticing smoking cues, attention toward smoking, and craving assessed in the moment, suggesting that attentional bias may not be a stable trait. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


How is the effect of adolescent e-cigarette use on smoking onset mediated: A longitudinal analysis.Open in a New Window

E-cigarette use by adolescents has been related to onset of cigarette smoking but there is little knowledge about the process(es) through which this occurs. Accordingly, we tested the role of cognitive and social factors for mediating the relation between e-cigarette use and smoking onset. A school-based survey was conducted with a baseline sample of 2,338 students in Hawaii (9th and 10th graders, mean age 14.7 years) who were surveyed in 2013 (Time 1, T1) and followed up 1 year later (Time 2, T2). We assessed e-cigarette use, cigarette smoking, demographic covariates, and 4 hypothesized mediators: smoking-related expectancies, prototypes, and peer affiliations as well as marijuana use. The primary structural modeling analysis, based on initial never-smokers, used an autoregressive model (entering T2 mediator values adjusted for T1 values) to test for mediational pathways in the relation between e-cigarette use at T1 and cigarette smoking status at T2. Results showed that e-cigarette use was related to all of the mediators. Tests of indirect effects indicated that changes in expectancies, affiliations, and marijuana use were significant pathways in the relation between e-cigarette use and smoking onset. A direct effect from e-cigarette use to smoking onset was nonsignificant. Findings were replicated across autoregressive and prospective models. We conclude that the relation between adolescent e-cigarette use and smoking onset is in part attributable to cognitive and social processes that follow from e-cigarette use. Further research is needed to understand the relative role of nicotine and psychosocial factors in smoking onset. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


It’s complicated: Examining smokers’ relationships with their cigarette brands.Open in a New Window

Despite increased restrictions and taxes, decreased social acceptability, and widespread awareness of the harms of tobacco use, many in the U.S. continue to smoke cigarettes. Thus, understanding smokers’ attitudes and motivations remains an important goal. This study adopts the consumer psychology concept of brand relationship to provide a new lens through which to examine smokers’ attitudes about their cigarette use. Twelve focus groups (N = 143) were conducted with adult cigarette smokers from September to November, 2013. Using a semistructured moderator guide and “top of mind” worksheets, the discussion examined participants’ attitudes toward (a) their own cigarette brand and (b) tobacco companies in general. Data were coded and analyzed following principles of thematic analysis. Adult smokers reported positive attitudes toward their cigarette brand, as their brand was strongly associated with the positive experience of smoking (e.g., satisfying craving and relief from withdrawal). In contrast, thinking about tobacco companies in general evoked negative reactions, revealing overwhelmingly negative attitudes toward the industry. Findings reveal a complicated relationship between smokers and their cigarette brand: simultaneously embracing their cigarettes and rejecting the industry that makes them. Taken together, these data suggest smokers maintain largely positive brand relationships, diverting negative feelings about smoking toward the tobacco industry. Finally, they highlight the synergy between branding and the subjective smoking experience, whereby positive brand attitudes are reinforced through withdrawal relief. Ultimately, this information could inform a more complete understanding of how smokers interpret and respond to tobacco communications, including marketing from their brand. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Perceptions of harm and addiction of snus: An exploratory study.Open in a New Window

Tobacco companies in the United States are prohibited from making reduced harm claims without filing a modified risk tobacco product application with the Food and Drug Administration and obtaining an order to market as such. However, it is possible that product marketing may suggest reduced risk to individuals. This study examines perceptions, in particular those related to harm and addiction, of snus print advertisements using a combination of eye-tracking, survey, and semistructured interviews. Participants were 22 male smokers ages 19–29 (M = 26.64, SD = 2.92). Five snus advertisements were each displayed for 20 s and eye movements were tracked. Participants responded to questions about harm and addiction after each advertisement and interviews were conducted after seeing all advertisements. For each advertisement, descriptive statistics were calculated and regression analyses predicted harm and addiction perceptions from eye tracking areas of interest (e.g., warning label). Qualitative data were analyzed using inductive/deductive thematic analysis. For certain advertisements, areas of interest were significantly associated with harm and/or addiction perceptions. For example, higher total fixation duration on the graphic in the Smokeless for Smokers advertisement was associated with decreased perceptions of addiction (B = −.360, p = .048). Qualitative themes emerged and in many instances corroborated quantitative results. This study indicates that for some advertisements, attention on certain areas (measured through eye tracking) is associated with perceptions among young male smokers. Understanding how smokers perceive and understand products after viewing advertisements may inform regulations regarding claims about product harm and addiction and may guide public health efforts to educate smokers on the risks of emerging products. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Perceived friends’ use as a risk factor for marijuana use across young adulthood.Open in a New Window

Perceived social norms of substance use are commonly identified as a risk factor for use. How the strength of association between perceived friends’ use and substance use may change across development has not yet been documented. The current analysis considers how the associations between perceived friends’ marijuana use and participants’ own use of any marijuana in the past year changes from ages 18 to 30 using longitudinal data from the United States national Monitoring the Future study from 1976 to 2014 (N = 30,794 people). Time-varying effect modeling (TVEM) was used to examine the associations between perceived friends’ use of marijuana and participants’ own annual marijuana use by age, as well as the extent to which these time-varying associations were moderated by sex, race/ethnicity, and parental education. Associations between perceived friends’ use and own marijuana use increased with age. In addition, the association between perceived friends’ use and own marijuana use significantly varied by demographic groups, such that it was significantly greater for men from ages 19 to 24 and from ages 27 to 30, compared with women; for Whites, compared with other race/ethnicities, across all ages; and for individuals whose parents attended college, compared with those whose parents had a high school education or less, across all ages. Results suggest that perceived friends’ marijuana use becomes an even more important marker for increased marijuana use as people age through young adulthood. Therefore, the role of peers in substance use remains crucial beyond adolescence and should be incorporated into intervention strategies for young adults. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Prevalence and correlates of vaping cannabis in a sample of young adults.Open in a New Window

Vaping nicotine (i.e., the use of e-cigarettes and similar devices to inhale nicotine) is becoming increasingly popular among young people. Though some vaporizers are capable of vaporizing cannabis, sparse research has investigated this method of cannabis administration. The present study examines the prevalence and correlates of vaping cannabis in a sample of 482 college students. Participants reported high lifetime rates of vaping nicotine (37%) and cannabis (29%). Men (rs = 0.09, p = .047) and individuals from higher socioeconomic status families (rs = 0.14, p = .003) vaped cannabis more frequently than women and individuals from lower SES families. In addition, those who vaped cannabis more frequently were more open to new experiences (rs = 0.17, p s = 0.35, p s = 0.70, p s = 0.46, p < .001), suggesting that availability of cannabis and vaporizers is particularly important. Participants’ top reason for vaping cannabis, endorsed by 65% of those who had vaped cannabis, was convenience and discreetness for use in public places. Several correlates distinguished cannabis users who vaped from cannabis users who did not vape, most notably more frequent cannabis use (odds ratios [OR] = 3.68, p < .001), alcohol use (OR = 2.07, p < .001), nicotine vaping (OR = 1.73, p < .001), and greater approval of smoking cannabis regularly (OR = 2.15, p < .001). Findings suggest that cannabis vaping is prevalent among young adults, particularly among those who use other substances frequently and have more favorable attitudes toward smoking cannabis. Research is needed on the antecedents and potential harms and benefits of cannabis vaping in young adulthood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Life events and problem gambling severity: A prospective study of adult gamblers.Open in a New Window

Several studies have shown that gambling problems are cyclical but few have empirically investigated factors that are associated with change. The purpose of this article is to prospectively examine associations between life events and problem gambling severity in a cohort of gamblers. Occurrence of life events and gambling problem severity were assessed 3 times over a period of 2 years in a cohort of nonproblem and problem gamblers (N = 179) drawn from a representative sample derived from a population survey. Cross-lagged analyses revealed that cumulative number of life events were associated with an increase in severity of problem gambling 12 months later. Regression analyses showed that significant life events in several domains, for example, “change in sleeping habits,” “accidental injury or illness” or “retirement,” are likely to be associated over time to the increase or the continuation of risky gambling habits. This study’s findings on the potential negative influence of cumulative number of life events, or of specific ones, are informative for secondary prevention and treatment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Gambling warning messages: The impact of winning and losing on message reception across a gambling session.Open in a New Window

Gambling warning messages have been shown to lead to prevention and modification of risk-taking behaviors. Laboratory studies have shown messages can increase a player’s knowledge about gambling specific risks, modify their gambling-related cognitive distortions, and even change play. In the present laboratory study, participants were randomly assigned to a winning or losing slot machine gambling experience where they either viewed periodic warning messages or not. It was hypothesized that those in the message conditions would place smaller bets, spend more time considering bets, and spend less time gambling than those in the control conditions. We also hypothesized participants would play differently across the contexts of winning or losing. The results showed those who received warning messages while winning made the fewest number of spins and did not speed up their bet rate over the course of play as much as those in other conditions. Players who received warning messages while losing decreased the size of their bets over the course of play compared to those who received messages while winning. Despite receiving warning messages, losing players did not decrease their number of spins or rate of betting. Winning or losing during slot machine play appears to have significant consequences on the impact of a warning message. Whereas a message to change gambling behavior may encourage a winning gambler to stop play, the same message for a losing player may lead to a small minimization in harm by helping them to decrease bet size, though not their rate of betting. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Time-varying effect modeling to address new questions in behavioral research: Examples in marijuana use.Open in a New Window

Time-varying effect modeling (TVEM), a statistical approach that enables researchers to estimate dynamic associations between variables across time, holds enormous potential to advance behavioral research. TVEM can address innovative questions about processes that unfold across different levels of time. We present a conceptual introduction to the approach and demonstrate 4 innovative ways to approach time in TVEM to advance research on the etiology of marijuana use. First, we examine changes in associations across historical time to understand how the link between marijuana use attitudes and marijuana use behavior has shifted from 1976 to present; gender differences in the relevance of attitudes diminished over time and were no longer significant after 2004. Second, we examine age-varying associations between heavy episodic drinking and marijuana use across developmental time and demonstrate that this dynamic association is substantially stronger during ages 14 to 16 compared with later ages. Third, we explore the complex association between age of onset of marijuana use and adult marijuana use to identify precise age ranges during which the onset of use is most risky, and demonstrate how this complex association is more salient for males. Finally, we examine changes in marijuana use as a function of time relative to the birth of first child and show how this transition is more crucial for females. All empirical examples in this methodological demonstration rely on existing data from cross-sectional or panel studies. We conclude with thoughts on future directions for the application and further development of TVEM in behavioral research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)


Briefer assessment of social network drinking: A test of the Important People Instrument–5 (IP-5).Open in a New Window

The Important People instrument (IP; Longabaugh et al., 2010) is one of the most commonly used measures of social network drinking. Although its reliability and validity are well-supported, the length of the instrument may limit its use in many settings. The present study evaluated whether a briefer, 5-person version of the IP (IP-5) adequately reproduces scores from the full IP. College freshmen (N = 1,053) reported their own past-month drinking, alcohol-related consequences, and information about drinking in their close social networks at baseline and 1 year later. From this we derived network members’ drinking frequency, percentage of drinkers, and percentage of heavy drinkers, assessed for up to 10 (full IP) or 5 (IP-5) network members. We first modeled the expected concordance between full-IP scores and scores from simulated shorter IP instruments by sampling smaller subsets of network members from full IP data. Then, using quasi-experimental methods, we administered the full IP and IP-5 and compared the 2 instruments’ score distributions and concurrent and year-lagged associations with participants’ alcohol consumption and consequences. Most of the full-IP variance was reproduced from simulated shorter versions of the IP (ICCs ≥ 0.80). The full IP and IP-5 yielded similar score distributions, concurrent associations with drinking (r = 0.22 to 0.52), and year-lagged associations with drinking. The IP-5 retains most of the information about social network drinking from the full IP. The shorter instrument may be useful in clinical and research settings that require frequent measure administration, yielding greater temporal resolution for monitoring social network drinking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
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