Apples and Oranges? Comparing Indirect Measures of Alcohol-related Cognition Predicting 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 | Mental and Social Health | Public Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Recently, there has been increased interest in the role of implicit cognitive processes in the development of addictive behaviors. In this study, the authors compared 3 indirect measures of alcohol-related cognitions in the prospective prediction of alcohol use in at-risk adolescents. Implicit alcohol-related cognitions were assessed in 88 Dutch at-risk adolescents ranging in age from 14 to 20 years (51 males, 37 females) by means of varieties of word association tasks, Implicit Association Tests, and Extrinsic Affective Simon Tasks adapted for alcohol use. Alcohol use and alcohol-related problems were measured with self-report questionnaires at baseline and after 1 month. Results showed that the indirect measures predicted unique variance in prospective alcohol use after controlling for the direct measure of alcohol-related cognitions and background variables. The results indicate that the word association tasks were the best indirect measure of alcohol-related cognitions. These indirect measures appear to assess cognitive motivational processes that affect behavior in ways not reflected by direct measures of alcohol-related cognitions.

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© 2007 American Psychological Association

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