Cognitive and behavioral preoccupation with alcohol in recidivist DUI offenders

Melissa A. Miller, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: A high proportion of individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) are repeat offenders. Efforts have sought to identify specific factors underlying DUI recidivism. Of particular interest is the role that alcohol-related cognitions might play in the development and escalation of alcohol use. The present study investigated the degree to which preoccupation with, and attentional bias to, alcohol are heightened among repeat DUI offenders.

Method: Three groups of participants (recidivist DUI offenders, first-time offenders, and controls; n = 20 per group) performed a visual probe task to measure attentional bias and completed questionnaires regarding their cognitive and emotional preoccupation with alcohol and drinking habits.

Results: Recidivist offenders displayed a significantly heightened alcohol attentional bias and reported greater preoccupation with alcohol compared with both first-time offenders and controls. By contrast, none of the groups differed with regard to the self-reported quantity and frequency of their consumption.

Conclusions: Factors reflecting preoccupation with alcohol have utility for differentiating recidivist offenders from both first-time offenders and nonoffenders. These findings highlight the value of moving beyond self-reported assessments of drinking patterns toward assessing specific cognitive and behavioral characteristics that can improve our understanding, assessment, and treatment of the problem of DUI recidivism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1018-1022
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Rutgers University.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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