Different associations of alcohol cue reactivity with negative alcohol expectancies in mandated and inpatient samples of young adults

D. Eddie, J. F. Buckman, E. Y. Mun, B. Vaschillo, E. Vaschillo, T. Udo, P. Lehrer, M. E. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Alcohol cue reactivity, operationalized as a classically conditioned response to an alcohol related stimulus, can be assessed by changes in physiological functions such as heart rate variability (HRV), which reflect real time regulation of emotional and cognitive processes. Although ample evidence links drinking histories to cue reactivity, it is unclear whether in-the-moment cue reactivity becomes coupled to a set of consolidated beliefs about the effects of alcohol (i.e., expectancies) and whether treatment helps dissociate the relation of positive versus negative expectancies to cue reactivity. This study examined the relationship between reactivity to alcohol picture cues and alcohol expectancies in two groups of emerging adults: an inpatient sample with alcohol use disorders (n= 28) and a college student sample who previously were mandated to a brief intervention for violating university policies about alcohol use in residence halls (n= 43). Sequential regression analysis was conducted using several HRV indices and self-report arousal ratings as cue reactivity measures. Results indicated that the relationship between cue reactivity and negative alcohol outcome expectancies differed for the two groups. Greater cue reactivity, assessed using HRV indices, was associated with more negative expectancies in the inpatient sample but with less negative expectancies in the mandated student sample, while an opposite trend was found for subjective arousal. The present findings highlight the importance of characterizing cue reactivity through multi-dimensional assessment modalities that include physiological markers such as HRV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2040-2043
Number of pages4
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Alcohol outcome expectancies
  • Alcohol use disorders
  • Cue reactivity
  • Heart rate variability


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