Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory T. Smith

Abstract

Personality stability across the lifespan has been well documented, but within that overall stability there is also evidence of meaningful change. There is both theoretical and empirical evidence to suggest that personality change can occur at the volition of the individual, through behavioral processes. The current study tested whether an emotion modulation intervention that promoted behavior change could be applied to reduce a related, high-risk personality trait (negative urgency) and a high-risk behavior (heavy alcohol consumption) using a three-week long, mixed laboratory design. Participants (n=23) were a sample of heavy drinking but otherwise healthy volunteers who were randomly assigned to receive either an experimental (emotion modulation) or control intervention. Participants completed three study visits: the first visit included a screening, self-report questionnaires and an ad libitum drinking task following a negative affect induction, the second visit included self-report questionnaires and an hour-long intervention following a negative affect induction, and the third visit again included self-report questionnaires and an ad libitum drinking task following a negative affect induction. We hypothesized that participants receiving the emotion modulation intervention would report reductions in negative urgency as well as reductions in drinking behavior following a negative affect induction in the laboratory. Neither of these hypotheses was supported. Implications for these null findings are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.066

Funding Information

National Research Service Award, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

1 F31 AA026175-01 (9/15/2017 through 9/15/2019)

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