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Attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence: influence of coexisting psychopathology

Attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence: influence of coexisting psychopathology
Attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence: influence of coexisting psychopathology
Objective: the effects of coexisting psychopathology on disorder-specific attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence are uncertain. We undertook a cross-sectional study assessing attentional biases to alcohol-, depression-, and anxiety- related stimuli using the visual probe task in patients with alcohol dependence, attending a community alcohol service.

Methods: using the visual probe task, we presented disorder-specific words (relating to alcohol, anxiety, and depression) for 500 ms and measured reaction times.

Results: participants demonstrated a significant attentional bias towards alcohol-related cues (mean 8.5, p = 0.03) but significant avoidance of depression-related cues (mean ?8.4, p = 0.01). The subgroup of participants who were recently abstinent (n = 70) showed greatest avoidance of depression-related cues (t(69) = 2.68, p < 0.01) but no significant vigilance towards alcohol or anxiety cues, whereas those still drinking (n = 43) showed attentional biases towards alcohol-related (t(42) = 2.70, p = 0.01) and social anxiety-related cues (t(42) = 2.84, p < 0.01). In the whole sample, the magnitude of attentional bias to alcohol was not correlated with length of drinking history, number of comorbid conditions, or severity of anxiety/depression.

Conclusions: in a clinical sample of alcohol-dependent patients, further investigation is required to explore whether these attentional biases reflect current drinking status or factors indicating prognosis
0885-6222
Sinclair, Julia
be3e54d5-c6da-4950-b0ba-3cb8cdcab13c
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072
Pasche, Sonja
148bc9a1-cd01-446a-84ca-4691ed28b251
Wood, Thomas
94bbb783-9150-432e-8f5c-6d5317a67f90
Baldwin, David
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e
Sinclair, Julia
be3e54d5-c6da-4950-b0ba-3cb8cdcab13c
Garner, Matthew
3221c5b3-b951-4fec-b456-ec449e4ce072
Pasche, Sonja
148bc9a1-cd01-446a-84ca-4691ed28b251
Wood, Thomas
94bbb783-9150-432e-8f5c-6d5317a67f90
Baldwin, David
1beaa192-0ef1-4914-897a-3a49fc2ed15e

Sinclair, Julia, Garner, Matthew, Pasche, Sonja, Wood, Thomas and Baldwin, David (2016) Attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence: influence of coexisting psychopathology. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. (doi:10.1002/hup.2549).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Objective: the effects of coexisting psychopathology on disorder-specific attentional biases in patients with alcohol dependence are uncertain. We undertook a cross-sectional study assessing attentional biases to alcohol-, depression-, and anxiety- related stimuli using the visual probe task in patients with alcohol dependence, attending a community alcohol service.

Methods: using the visual probe task, we presented disorder-specific words (relating to alcohol, anxiety, and depression) for 500 ms and measured reaction times.

Results: participants demonstrated a significant attentional bias towards alcohol-related cues (mean 8.5, p = 0.03) but significant avoidance of depression-related cues (mean ?8.4, p = 0.01). The subgroup of participants who were recently abstinent (n = 70) showed greatest avoidance of depression-related cues (t(69) = 2.68, p < 0.01) but no significant vigilance towards alcohol or anxiety cues, whereas those still drinking (n = 43) showed attentional biases towards alcohol-related (t(42) = 2.70, p = 0.01) and social anxiety-related cues (t(42) = 2.84, p < 0.01). In the whole sample, the magnitude of attentional bias to alcohol was not correlated with length of drinking history, number of comorbid conditions, or severity of anxiety/depression.

Conclusions: in a clinical sample of alcohol-dependent patients, further investigation is required to explore whether these attentional biases reflect current drinking status or factors indicating prognosis

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 17 August 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 November 2016
Published date: 16 November 2016
Organisations: Clinical & Experimental Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403485
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403485
ISSN: 0885-6222
PURE UUID: 8ae1370d-192e-4f12-92d1-ad0c4085d0c6
ORCID for Julia Sinclair: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1905-2025

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Date deposited: 01 Dec 2016 14:24
Last modified: 26 Nov 2019 06:26

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