Cognitive moderators of alcohol's effects on anxiety

Michael A. Sayette, G. Terence Wilson, John A. Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to test the prediction from the attention-allocation model that intoxication in the absence of a pleasant distractor will fail to produce anxiolytic effects. A second prediction, that the sequence of intoxication and exposure to the anxiety-producing situation would influence alcohol's effects, was also tested. Subjects were male social drinkers who received an 0.85 g kg dose of alcohol or a placebo. Conventional statistical analysis of the results indicated an anxiolytic effect of alcohol on heart rate but a problem with this analysis is identified. An alternative interpretation provides no support for an anxiolytic effect. Exposure to the anxiety-producing stimulus prior to intoxication led to greater heart rate reactivity than if it followed intoxication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-690
Number of pages6
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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