Impulse Control as a Mechanism of Change in the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence

Houston | Dearing | Connors | Homish

This project used a multi-modal measurement approach to the assessment of impulse control before, during, and after a cognitive behavioral treatment for alcohol dependence. Since it is likely that the decision to initiate drinking is indicative of a momentary lapse in impulse control for individuals with an alcohol disorder, this study 1) investigated whether changes in impulse control during treatment are related to alcohol use during treatment, as compared to pre-treatment and 2) whether changes in impulse control during treatment result in changes in post-treatment alcohol use, as compared to pre-treatment. A two-group design consisting of a Standard Assessment Group and a Frequent Assessment Group was used with men and women who met DSM-IV criteria for alcohol dependence to examine the multi-dimensional nature of the impulsivity construct. Results yet to be published will better define the role of impulse control as a potential mechanism of behavioral change and inform the development of subsequent avenues of investigation on this mechanism in the treatment of alcohol use disorders. Results will also provide information about refining existing treatments as well as developing new treatment methods. Dr. Houston’s co-investigators are Drs. Ronda L. Dearing of the University of Houston and Gerard J. Connors of RIA, and Dr. Gregory G. Homish of UB’s Department of Health Behavior. Funded by a grant of $416,063 from NIAAA, 2007-2010.