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Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology - Vol 22, Iss 4

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Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology seeks to promote the discipline of psychopharmacology in its fullest diversity. Psychopharmacology necessarily involves behavioral change, psychological processes, or their physiological substrates as one central variable and psychopharmacological agents as a second central variable. Such agents will include drugs, medications, and chemicals encountered in the workplace or environment.
Copyright 2014 American Psychological Association
  • Ecological momentary assessment of acute alcohol use disorder symptoms: Associations with mood, motives, and use on planned drinking days.
    Several theories posit that alcohol is consumed both in relation to one’s mood and in relation to different motives for drinking. However, there are mixed findings regarding the role of mood and motives in predicting drinking. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methods provide an opportunity to evaluate near real-time changes in mood and motives within individuals to predict alcohol use. In addition, endorsement of criteria of an alcohol use disorder (AUD) may also be sensitive to changes within subjects. The current study used EMA with 74 moderate drinkers who responded to fixed and random mood, motive, alcohol use, and AUD criteria prompts over a 21-day assessment period. A temporal pattern of daytime mood, evening drinking motivation, and nighttime alcohol use and acute AUD symptoms on planned drinking days was modeled to examine how these associations unfold throughout the day. The results suggest considerable heterogeneity in drinking motivation across drinking days. Additionally, an affect regulation model of drinking to cope with negative mood was observed. Specifically, on planned drinking days, the temporal association between daytime negative mood and the experience of acute AUD symptoms was mediated via coping motives and alcohol use. The current study found that motives are dynamic, and that changes in motives may predict differential drinking patterns across days. Further, the study provides evidence that emotion-regulation-driven alcohol involvement may need to be examined at the event level to fully capture the ebb and flow of negative affect motivated drinking. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Modeling behavioral reactivity to losses and rewards on the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART): Moderation by alcohol problem severity.
    The relationship between risk-taking behavior and substance dependence has proven to be complex, particularly when examining across participants expressing a range of substance use problem severity. While main indices of risk-taking in the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) positively associate with problematic alcohol use in adolescent populations (e.g., MacPherson, Magidson, Reynolds, Kahler, & Lejuez, 2010), several studies have observed a negative relationship when examining behavior within adult substance using populations (Ashenhurst, Jentsch, & Ray, 2011; Campbell, Samartgis, & Crowe, 2013). To examine potential mechanisms that underlie this negative relationship, we implemented multilevel regression models on trial-by-trial BART data gathered from 295 adult problem drinkers. These models accounted for participant behavior on trials following balloon bursts or cash outs as indices of loss and reward reactivity, respectively, and included control variables including age, IQ, and individual delay discounting rate. Results revealed that individual trial pumping was significantly predicted by trial number, and by whether or not the previous trial was a big burst or a big cash out (i.e., large magnitude of potential gains) in a manner consistent with a “near-miss” effect. Furthermore, severity of alcohol problems moderated the effect of a previous trial big burst, but not of a big cash out, on subsequent trial behavior such that those with greater severity demonstrated relative insensitivity to this “near-miss” effect. These results extend previous studies suggesting that alcohol abusers are less risky on the BART by specifying a mechanism underlying this pattern, namely, diminished reactivity to large magnitude losses. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The relationship between alcohol cues, alcohol expectancies, and physical balance.
    Although previous research has shown that beliefs about alcohol (expectancies) are associated with alcohol-consistent, nonconsumptive behavior (e.g., aggression; Friedman, McCarthy, Bartholow, & Hicks, 2007), no research has examined the effects of such expectancy on physical balance. The purpose of the current research was to test the association between alcohol cue exposure and feelings of imbalance. Study 1 showed that participants exhibited poorer balance in the presence of alcohol-related pictures compared to neutral (e.g., juice) or no pictures. Study 2 found that people exhibited a heightened accessibility of alcohol-related thoughts following a manipulation where they felt imbalanced (i.e., rocking on a wobble board) versus balanced. Study 3 showed that people with higher positive expectancies about alcohol reported a greater number of alcohol-related thoughts after they were made to feel imbalanced (vs. balanced). Implications of this research for alcohol expectancies, embodied cognition, and psychomotor functioning are further discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Examining vulnerability to smokeless tobacco use among adolescents and adults meeting diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder.
    Smoking prevalence is unevenly distributed in the U.S. population, with those with mental illness, other substance use disorders, and lower socioeconomic status being especially vulnerable. Less research has been conducted on the association between these same vulnerabilities and smokeless tobacco (ST) use. The present study examined cigarette and ST use among adolescents and adults who met diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Utilizing the most recent (2011) NSDUH, we compared odds for current cigarette smoking and ST use among adolescents and adults meeting criteria for past-year major depressive disorder to the general population, after adjusting for potential confounding influences of sociodemographic and other substance use characteristics. Analyses were conducted to examine sex as a moderator of the relation between major depressive disorder and tobacco use. Odds for current cigarette smoking among those classified with major depressive disorder were increased among adolescents (OR = 1.33, 95% CI [1.05, 1.69], p = .021) and adults (OR = 1.70, 95% CI [1.47, 1.97], p <.0005), and odds for current ST use did not differ among adolescents (OR = 0.90, 95% CI [0.54, 1.49], p = .678) and were lower among adults (OR = 0.68, 95% CI [0.51, 0.91], p = .010). Sex was not a significant moderator in adolescents or adults. Major depressive disorder is associated with increased risk for smoking but not ST use among adolescents and adults further demonstrating heterogeneity in predictors of vulnerability to use of different tobacco products. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Cognitive deficits specific to depression-prone smokers during abstinence.
    Cigarette smoking is associated with a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms and individuals with elevated symptoms of depression have more difficulty quitting smoking. Depression is accompanied by cognitive deficits similar to those observed during nicotine withdrawal. Depressed smokers may smoke to alleviate these cognitive symptoms, which are exacerbated upon smoking abstinence. We hypothesized that following overnight abstinence, depression-prone smokers (DP+; past history and current depression symptoms; n = 34) would exhibit deficits in short-term and working memory, and experience greater attentional bias for affective stimuli, compared with smokers with no history or current symptoms of depression (DP−; n = 34). All participants underwent two laboratory sessions, once while smoking abstinent and once while smoking ad libitum (order counterbalanced, abstinence biochemically verified). Smokers completed measures of short-term memory (STM; word recognition task), working memory (N-back task), and attentional bias (Emotional Stroop task). The DP+ group showed declines in STM during abstinence compared with smoking, whereas the DP− group did not (interaction p = .02). There were small decrements in working memory accuracy during abstinence (p = .05), but this did not interact with depression status. During the Emotional Stroop task, the DP+ group showed an attentional bias toward positive versus neutral stimuli during abstinence compared with smoking (interaction p = .01). This study provides initial evidence that depressive symptoms may moderate abstinence-induced deficits in STM and shift attentional bias toward emotionally salient stimuli during abstinence. These cognitive changes may prompt relapse and may help identify novel targets for nicotine dependence treatment aimed at attenuating these deficits to improve cessation rates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Positive smoking outcome expectancies mediate the association between negative affect and smoking urge among women during a quit attempt.
    Ecological momentary assessment was used to examine associations between negative affect, positive smoking outcome expectancies, and smoking urge during the first 7 days of a smoking quit attempt. Participants were 302 female smokers who enrolled in an individually tailored smoking cessation treatment study. Multilevel mediation analysis was used to examine the temporal relationship among the following: (a) the effects of negative affect and positive smoking outcome expectancies at 1 assessment point (e.g., time j) on smoking urge at the subsequent time point (e.g., time j + 1) in Model 1; and, (b) the effects of negative affect and smoking urge at time j on positive smoking outcome expectancies at time j + 1 in Model 2. The results from Model 1 showed a statistically significant effect of negative affect at time j on smoking urge at time j + 1, and this effect was mediated by positive smoking outcome expectancies at time j, both within- and between-participants. In Model 2, the within-participant indirect effect of negative affect at time j on positive smoking outcome expectancies at time j + 1 through smoking urge at time j was nonsignificant. However, a statistically significant indirect between-participants effect was found in Model 2. The findings support the hypothesis that urge and positive smoking outcome expectancies increase as a function of negative affect, and suggest a stronger effect of expectancies on urge as opposed to the effect of urge on expectancies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Robust impact of social anxiety in relation to coping motives and expectancies, barriers to quitting, and cessation-related problems.
    Although social anxiety is related to smoking and nicotine dependence, few researchers have sought to identify factors that contribute to these relations. The current study examined whether social anxiety was associated with cognitive vulnerability factors related to smoking: perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies, and negative-affect-reduction motives. Further, we tested whether social anxiety was robustly related to these factors after controlling for cigarettes smoked per day, gender, alcohol-use frequency, lifetime cannabis-use status, panic attack frequency, anxiety sensitivity, and negative affectivity. The sample consisted of 580 (38.6% female) treatment-seeking smokers. Social anxiety was associated with perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies, and negative-affect-reduction motives. After controlling for covariates, social anxiety was robustly related to perceived barriers for quitting, cessation-related problems, and negative-affect-reduction-outcome expectancies. Social anxiety was robustly related to negative-affect-reduction motives among men, but not women. Results indicate that social anxiety is robustly related to cognitive vulnerability factors associated with poorer cessation outcomes, suggesting that social anxiety may be an important therapeutic target during smoking cessation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • The effects of percentile versus fixed criterion schedules on smoking with equal incentive magnitude for initial abstinence.
    Incentives have been successfully used to reduce smoking in hard-to-treat (HTT) smokers by progressively reinforcing lower levels of breath carbon monoxide (CO). When compared with schedules only providing incentives for smoking abstinence, using a progressive (percentile) criterion facilitates longer periods of smoking abstinence. However, participants receiving incentives for lower breath CO levels on percentile schedules typically earn more for their first abstinent breath CO sample relative to participants receiving incentives only for smoking abstinence. Many studies show that larger incentive magnitude increases abstinence rates. The present study tested the effects of different incentive schedules on rates of abstinence maintenance while holding the initial incentive magnitude constant for 93 HTT smokers to eliminate initial abstinence incentive magnitude as a potential confound. Smokers were randomized to percentile, fixed criterion, or random incentive schedules. The incentive magnitude for the first abstinent breath CO sample (
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  • Environmental enrichment attenuates nicotine behavioral sensitization in male and female rats.
    Environmental enrichment decreases nicotine reactivity in male rats, but these effects have not been examined in females. This research was conducted to examine the effects of enrichment on nicotine behavioral sensitization (i.e., nicotine reactivity) in male and female rats. One hundred forty-four Sprague–Dawley rats (72 male, 72 female) were raised in isolation, social enrichment (groups of three rats [SE]), or combined physical enrichment and social enrichment (groups of three rats with novel toys [PESE]) housing conditions. As adults, they received daily subcutaneous injections of saline or nicotine (0.1, 0.5, or 1.0 mg/kg) for 12 days; locomotor activity was measured on drug days 1, 5, 9, and 12. Before drug administration, PESE and SE decreased activity in males; only PESE decreased activity in females, F(2, 120) = 6.51, p F(8.46, 341.04) = 20.71, p F(8.340, 319.715) = 2.072, p <.05. Enrichment decreased nicotine behavioral sensitization in both sexes, F(16.91, 341.04) = 2.48, p <.01. In conclusion, nicotine behavioral sensitization occurred in male and female rats and was attenuated by environmental enrichment. This research has implications for treatment and prevention strategies in humans. Programs that incorporate aspects of social and environmental stimulation may have enhanced effectiveness in preventing and reducing cigarette smoking and may have implications for relapse prevention. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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  • Drug specificity in drug versus food choice in male rats.
    Although different classes of drug differ in their mechanisms of reinforcement and effects on behavior, little research has focused on differences in self-administration behaviors maintained by users of these drugs. Persistent drug choice despite available reinforcement alternatives has been proposed to model behavior relevant to addiction. The present study used a within-subjects procedure, where male rats (Long-Evans, N = 16) were given a choice between cocaine (1.0 mg/kg/infusion) and food (a single 45-mg grain pellet) or between heroin (0.02 mg/kg/infusion) and food in separate phases (drug order counterbalanced). All rats were initially trained to self-administer each drug, and the doses used were based on previous studies showing that small subsets of rats tend to prefer drug over food reinforcement. The goal of the present study was to determine whether rats that prefer cocaine would also prefer heroin. Choice sessions consisted of 2 forced-choice trials with each reinforcer, followed by 14 free-choice trials (all trials separated by 10-min intertrial interval). Replicating previous results, small subsets of rats preferred either cocaine (5 of the 16 rats) or heroin (2 of the 16 rats) to the food alternative. Although 1 of the 16 rats demonstrated a preference for both cocaine and heroin to the food alternative, there was no relationship between degree of cocaine and heroin preference in individual rats. The substance-specific pattern of drug preference observed suggests that at least in this animal model, the tendencies to prefer cocaine or heroin in preference to a nondrug alternative are distinct behavioral phenomena. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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