Use of Mindfulness Training to Improve BAC Self-Estimation During a Drinking Episode

Alexandra R. Kelly, Mark T. Fillmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Individuals are often inaccurate at estimating levels of intoxication following doses of alcohol. Previous research has shown that when required to estimate (BAC) at different time points, participants often underestimate their BACs and amounts of alcohol consumed. The present study aimed to increase drinkers’ BAC estimation accuracy after drinking alcohol using mindfulness-based feedback to increase their awareness of the interoceptive cues associated with alcohol intoxication. Method: Thirty-three adults were given 0.65 g/kg of alcohol and received one of three training conditions: BAC feedback only, body scan exercise + BAC feedback and no treatment control. Those in the BAC feedback group received feedback concerning their observed BAC during dose exposure. Participants in the body scan group received BAC feedback and underwent a mindfulness exercise to enhance their perception of the acute subjective effects of alcohol. The control group received no BAC estimation training. Participants attended four study sessions: Two training sessions where participants underwent structured training based on their condition and two retention sessions to test for the lasting effects of the training exercises. Results: Retention tests showed that participants in both treatment groups were most accurate in estimating their BACs. There were no differences among the groups in their perceived levels of intoxication at posttraining. The findings suggest that BAC feedback, alone and in combination with, mindfulness training can improve accuracy in estimating BACs. Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary support for the efficacy of mindfulness training in combination with BAC feedback to improve BAC estimation accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 24 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association


  • alcohol
  • blood alcohol concentration
  • driving
  • estimation
  • mindfulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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