Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Giancola

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that acute alcohol consumption facilitates aggression through the reduction of adaptive anxiety/fear responses to danger/threat. Participants were 80 healthy male social drinkers between 21 and 33 years of age. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups: 1) Alcohol/anxiety induction (n=20), 2) Placebo/anxiety induction (n=20), 3) Alcohol only (n=20), and 4) Placebo only (n=20). Anxiety was induced by informing participants that they had to deliver a speech about what they liked and disliked about their body in front of a video camera. A modified version of the Taylor Aggression Paradigm (Taylor, 1967) was used to measure aggressive behavior in a situation where electric shocks were administered to, and received from, a fictitious opponent during a supposed competitive reaction-time task. Results indicated that the anxiety induction was successful in reducing aggression for participants who received alcohol. Results are discussed within the context of a number of theories specifying anxiety as a possible mediator of the alcohol aggression relation.

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