Cognitive preoccupation with drinking and behavioral effects of alcohol as predictors of current consumption patterns

Holley C. Allen, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Acute alcohol responses such as tolerance to alcohol-induced motor impairment and heightened sensitivity to alcohol-induced disinhibition are associated with heavier drinking. Additionally, certain cognitive characteristics may also indicate problem-drinking. For example, cognitive and emotional preoccupation (CEP) with alcohol is associated with heavier drinking. However, it is not clear if cognitive markers have value as predicators of heavier drinking beyond that of well-established alcohol response markers. The current study sought to test the predictive potential of CEP in the context of two well-documented alcohol response markers of heavy drinking. Methods: Data aggregated from three studies comprised a sample of 94 young adult drinkers with no history of alcohol use disorder. Participants’ motor coordination (grooved pegboard) and behavioral disinhibition (cued go/no-go) were assessed following consumption of 0.65 g/kg alcohol and a placebo. CEP was measured via the Temptation and Restraint Inventory (TRI). Results: Drinkers who expressed both alcohol response markers reported drinking higher doses regardless of their level of CEP. Among drinkers who expressed low sensitivity to both disinhibition and motor impairment, higher CEP was associated with higher typical quantities. Low sensitivity to motor impairment functioned as a standalone marker of heavier drinking. Conclusions: The findings suggest that a combination of tolerance to motor impairment and high alcohol-induced disinhibition may be sufficient to promote heavier consumption even in the absence of cognitive markers associated with problem drinking. Results also suggest that cognitive characteristics may drive early drinking and contribute to the development of tolerance to acute alcohol effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109899
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Acute alcohol effects
  • Alcohol sensitivity
  • Alcohol tolerance
  • Cognitive and emotional preoccupation
  • Disinhibition
  • Markers of alcohol-related problems
  • Motor impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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