Volunteer chronic alcoholics were given access to substantial quantities of alcohol in situations in which a behavioral contingency was attached to non-excessive drinking. If subjects either abstained or drank moderately they earned the opportunity to participate in an 'enriched' ward environment-with greater social and recreational opportunities. Subjects overwhelmingly chose to drink moderately. The results indicate that alcoholics can stop drinking after having begun, and thus support the hope that a technology may be developed for teaching moderation as a treatment goal. The results also suggest that for alcoholics, moderate drinking is more reinforcing than abstinence. The possibility that the opportunity to drink moderately can be used as a reinforcer in treatment programs is discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health