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Brief Negative Affect Focused Functional Imagery Training Abolishes Stress-Induced Alcohol Choice in Hazardous Student Drinkers

Bakou, A. E. ORCID: 0000-0002-4813-7212, Shuai, R. & Hogarth, L. (2021). Brief Negative Affect Focused Functional Imagery Training Abolishes Stress-Induced Alcohol Choice in Hazardous Student Drinkers. Journal of Addiction, 2021, 5801781. doi: 10.1155/2021/5801781


INTRODUCTION: Imagery-based stress management therapies are effective at reducing alcohol use. To explore the therapeutic mechanism, the current study tested whether brief functional imagery training linked to personal negative affect drinking triggers would attenuate sensitivity to noise stress-induced alcohol seeking behaviour in a laboratory model.

METHODS: Participants were UK-based hazardous student drinkers (N = 61, 80.3% women, aged 18-25) who reported drinking to cope with negative affect. Participants in the active intervention group (n = 31) were briefly trained to respond to personal negative drinking triggers by retrieving an adaptive strategy to mitigate negative affect, whereas participants in the control group (n = 30) received risk information about binge drinking at university. The relative value of alcohol was then measured by preference to view alcohol versus food pictures in two-alternative choice trials, before (baseline) and during noise stress induction.

RESULTS: There was a significant two-way interaction (p < .04) where the control group increased their alcohol picture choice from baseline to the noise stress test (p < .001), whereas the active intervention group did not (p=.33), and the control group chose alcohol more frequently than the active group in the stress test (p=.03), but not at baseline (p=.16).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate that imagery-based mood management can protect against the increase in the relative value of alcohol motivated by acute stress in hazardous negative affect drinkers, suggesting this mechanism could underpin the therapeutic effect of mood management on drinking outcomes.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2021 Alexandra Elissavet Bakou et al. is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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