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Individual Differences in Temptation and Responses to Alcohol Cues

Tibor P. Palfai

Objective: Research on the Temptation and Restraint Inventory has established that the Temptation factor is associated with greater use of alcohol, more alcohol-related problems, and more severe symptoms of alcohol dependence. However, there is little known about the mechanisms by which Temptation may be associated with these higher levels of alcohol involvement. The present study was designed to examine how individual differences in Temptation are associated with responses to alcohol cues. Method: Eighty-nine hazardous drinkers were exposed to the sight and smell of their favorite alcoholic beverage, attempted to control their urges, and then participated in a beer taste test. Subjective experience, alcohol-related cognitive processing, and behavioral responses were assessed in the context of these cues. Results: Hierarchical regression analyses showed that Temptation was associated with stronger urges to drink alcohol, greater difficulty controlling urges, and increased alcohol consumption, even when controlling for alcohol consumption in the past month. Conclusions: The findings suggest that Temptation has utility for predicting responses to alcohol cues among hazardous drinkers even when the effects of typical drinking patterns are accounted for. Moreover, the results suggest that individuals who exhibit high levels of Temptation may be particularly reactive to anticipatory cues for alcohol consumption. (J. Stud. Alcohol 62: 657-666, 2001)