Reactivity to alcohol-related cues: Physiological and subjective responses in alcoholics and nonproblem drinkers

R. F. Kaplan, N. L. Cooney, L. H. Baker, R. A. Gillespie, R. E. Meyer, O. F. Pomerleau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations

Abstract

Physiological reactivity and self-reported desire to drink in nonproblem drinkers (n = 11 women and 15 men) and hospitalized alcoholics (N = 25 women and 34 men) were examined while subjects held and sniffed their preferred alcoholic beverage. Skin conductance level (SCL) and heart rate during alcohol exposure were significantly higher in the alcoholics than in the non-alcoholics. Self-reported desire to drink and SCL during alcohol exposure were correlated for alcoholics but not for nonalcoholics. Among alcoholics, SCL change was positively correlated with the number of heavy-drinking days in the month preceding admission to treatment. Consistent with conditioning models of relapse, alcoholics showed a distinctive response to alcohol cues, characterized by autonomic reactivity and concordance between this reactivity and self-reported desire for alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-272
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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