Interactions Between Implicit and Explicit Cognition and Working Memory Capacity in the Prediction of Alcohol Use in At-Risk Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Dual process models of addiction suggest that the influence of alcohol-related cognition might be dependent on the level of executive functioning. This study investigated if the interaction between implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions and working memory capacity predicted alcohol use after 1 month in at-risk youth. Implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions were assessed in 88 Dutch at-risk adolescents ranging in age from 14 to 20 (51 males) with an adapted version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and an expectancy questionnaire. Working memory capacity was assessed using the computer-based version of the Self-Ordered Pointing Task (SOPT). Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems were measured at baseline and after 1 month with self-report questionnaires. The hierarchical regression analysis showed that both the interaction between implicit positive-arousal cognitions and working memory capacity and the interaction between explicit positive-arousal cognitions and working memory capacity predicted unique variance in alcohol use after 1 month. Implicit positive-arousal cognitions predicted alcohol use after 1 month more strongly in students with lower levels of working memory capacity, whereas explicit positive-arousal cognitions predicted 1-month follow-up alcohol use more strongly in students with higher levels of working memory capacity. This could imply that different intervention methods could be effective for different subgroups of at-risk youth.

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