Implicit alcohol-related expectancies and the effect of context

Rebecca L Monk*, Charlotte Pennington, Claire Campbell, Adam Price, Derek Heim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The current study examined the impact of varying pictorial cues and testing contexts on implicit alcohol-related expectancies. Method: Seventy-six participants were assigned randomly to complete an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) in either a pub or lecture context. The IRAP exposed participants to pictorial cues that depicted an alcoholic beverage in the foreground of a pub (alcohol- congruent stimuli) or university lecture theater (alcohol-incongruent stimuli), and participants were required to match both positive and negative alcohol-related outcome expectancies to these stimuli. Corresponding to a 4 x 2 design, IRAP trial- types were included in the analysis as repeated measure variables whereas testing environment was input as a between-participants variable. Results: Participants more readily endorsed that drinking alcohol was related to positive expectancies when responding to alcohol-congruent stimuli and this was strengthened when participants completed the task in a pub. Moreover, they more readily confirmed that alcohol was related to negative expectancies when responding to alcohol incongruent stimuli. Conclusions: These findings suggest that alcohol-related cues and environmental contexts may be a significant driver of positive alcohol-related cognitions, which may have implications for the design of interventions. They emphasize further the importance of examining implicit cognitions in ecologically valid testing contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-827
JournalJournal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2016

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