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Anticipated Levels of Alcohol-Induced Sedation and Stimulation in Relation to Estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration
Ralf Demmel, Johannes Klüsener, Fred Rist
Objective: Anticipated biphasic effects of alcohol have been shown to vary with level of alcohol consumption and risk for alcohol dependence. However, past research has failed to control for participants’ current mood state. Furthermore, the results of previous studies comparing male and female participants may have been confounded by gender differences in alcohol metabolism. The present study seeks to replicate and expand previous research by establishing the relationship between anticipated alcohol effects and estimated BAC across four groups of male and female participants while controlling for current mood state. Method: Volunteers (N = 633; 367 women) were randomly assigned to one of four different testing conditions. Participants completed a German-language version of the Anticipated Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale (ABAES), a mood form based on the items of the ABAES and a brief questionnaire on background variables and drinking habits. The written instructions differed across groups. Participants were asked to imagine how they would feel immediately after drinking either one, two, three or four glasses of beer. Results: Current mood state and estimated blood alcohol concentration were most strongly related to anticipated levels of alcohol-induced sedation and stimulation. Moreover, alcohol expectancies were related to drinking habits. Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that both male and female social drinkers are able to make fairly sophisticated predictions about alcohol’s effects in relation to the assumed level of intoxication. Future research may address the sources of individual differences in anticipated levels of alcohol-induced sedation and stimulation. (J. Stud. Alcohol 65: 22- 26, 2004)