Reliable and valid techniques for assessing the alcoholic's disposition to drink would allow researchers to address many issues of clinical significance. This paper reviews some basic issues in behavioral assessment techniques, proposes several criteria for a reasonably general technique for assessing disposition to drink, and presents evidence relevant to the validity of one behavioral measure of disposition to drink. A study is presented which focuses on distinguishing good from poor treatment outcome subjects on the basis of their response patterns for alcohol during a simulated drinking binge. Alcoholic subjects were assigned to one of two treatment outcome groups based on treatment success evaluated at follow-up two months after hospital discharge. An analysis of the alcoholic's response patterns for alcohol during a simulated drinking binge revealed that good outcome subjects showed decreases in disposition to drink as their blood alcohol levels (BAL) rose, while poor outcome subjects showed increases in disposition to drink as their BAL increased. These results indicate that individual differences in behavioral response to alcoholization and withdrawal can index the alcoholic's potential for readdiction and relapse subsequent to hospital treatment and illustrate the role which behavioral assessment techniques can play in developing and refining models of human alcohol abuse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)