Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Peter Giancola

Abstract

A wealth of studies have examined the impact of alcohol on violence; however, only a small number have addressed differences elicited by different doses of alcohol. Such studies are seriously limited by mixed findings, small sample sizes, inconsistent alcohol doses and control conditions, a bias toward studying only male participants, and the predominant use of only one particular measure to assess aggression. The present laboratory investigation was designed to elucidate and advance this literature by improving upon these limitations. Participants were 187 (95 men and 92 women) social drinkers. Following the consumption of one of 6 alcohol doses (i.e., 0.0g/kg; 0.125g/kg; 0.25g/kg; 0.5g/kg; 0.75g/kg; and 1.0g/kg), participants were tested on a laboratory task in which electric shocks were received from, and administered to, a fictitious opponent under the guise of a competitive reaction-time task. Aggression was operationalized as the intensity of shocks administered to their opponent. Analyses revealed that higher alcohol doses clearly elicited greater aggression in both genders consistent with a linear non-threshold dose-response model. Our data help to clarify a body of literature that has been afflicted with numerous limitations and will also help in the selection of alcohol doses for researchers conducting future laboratory-based aggression studies.

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