To drink or to drink less? Distinguishing between effects of implementation intentions on decisions to drink and how much to drink in treatment-seeking individuals with alcohol use disorder

Lara N. Moody, Allison N. Tegge, Lindsey M. Poe, Mikhail N. Koffarnus, Warren K. Bickel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: For many people with alcohol use disorders, alcohol drinking is a highly ingrained and automatized behavior with negative long-term health consequences. Implementation intentions, a behavioral intervention that links high-risk drinking situations with alternative, healthier responses, provide a means to intervene on habitual drinking behaviors. Here, a pilot treatment using implementation intentions was assessed with remote assessments and treatment prompts. Methods: Treatment-seeking individuals with alcohol use disorder between the ages of 18 and 65 were recruited from the community from October 2014 to November 2016. Participants (N = 35) were quasi-randomly assigned to complete either active (n = 18) or control (n = 17) two-week implementation intention interventions. Active implementation intentions linked high-risk situations with alternative responses whereas the control condition selected situations and responses but did not link these together. Daily ecological momentary interventions of participant-tailored implementation intentions were delivered via text message. Alcohol consumption was assessed once daily with self-reported ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) of drinks consumed the previous day and thrice daily remotely submitted breathalyzer samples to assess reliability of self-reports. Results: On drinking days (80% of days), the active implementation intentions group reduced alcohol consumption during the intervention period compared to the control condition; however the difference between consumption was not observed at one-month follow-up. Discussion: The implementation intention intervention was associated with a 1.09 drink per day decrease in alcohol consumption on drinking days compared to a decrease of 0.29 drinks per day in the control condition. Future studies may combine implementation intentions with other treatments to help individuals to reduce alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume83
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Alcohol use
  • Ecological momentary assessment
  • Ecological momentary intervention
  • Implementation intentions
  • Remote treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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