A Behavioral Economic Reward Index Predicts Drinking Resolutions: Moderation Revisited and Compared With Other Outcomes

Jalie A. Tucker, David L. Roth, Mary J. Vignolo, Andrew O. Westfall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Data were pooled from 3 studies of recently resolved community-dwelling problem drinkers to determine whether a behavioral economic index of the value of rewards available over different time horizons distinguished among moderation (n = 30), abstinent (n = 95), and unresolved (n = 77) outcomes. Moderation over 1- to 2-year prospective follow-up intervals was hypothesized to involve longer term behavior regulation processes than abstinence or relapse and to be predicted by more balanced preresolution monetary allocations between short-term and longer term objectives (i.e., drinking and saving for the future). Standardized odds ratios (ORs) based on changes in standard deviation units from a multinomial logistic regression indicated that increases on this "Alcohol-Savings Discretionary Expenditure" index predicted higher rates of abstinence (OR = 1.93, p = .004) and relapse (OR = 2.89, p < .0001) compared with moderation outcomes. The index had incremental utility in predicting moderation in complex models that included other established predictors. The study adds to evidence supporting a behavioral economic analysis of drinking resolutions and shows that a systematic analysis of preresolution spending patterns aids in predicting moderation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • behavioral economics
  • moderation
  • natural resolution
  • problem drinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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