Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5630-7931

Year of Publication

2022

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Mark T. Fillmore

Abstract

The prevalence of alcohol-impaired driving injuries and fatalities has not decreased for over a decade despite strategies to reduce and prevent driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). In 2019, 10,142 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the United States, which totaled to 28% of all traffic fatalities for the year. DUI interventions have been found to have moderate effects on reducing DUI recidivism. Prevention research has identified a lack of risk awareness in DUI offenders and this could be a target to motivate behavioral change. However, the training to increase levels of risk awareness needs to occur in the intoxicated state when the decision to drive takes place. The present study aims to test the degree to which individuals’ risk awareness is impaired during intoxication and the efficacy of using experiential-based feedback to enhance risk awareness during intoxication. Thirty-three adults between the ages of 21 and 33 participated in this study. Subjects were given a dose of alcohol and received one of three training conditions designed to increase risk awareness under the dose: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) feedback, body scan exercise + BAC feedback and no treatment control. Those in the BAC feedback group received feedback concerning their observed BAC during dose exposure. Subjects in the body scan group received BAC feedback and underwent a mindfulness exercise to increase their interoceptive awareness of alcohol intoxication cues. Those in the control group did not receive any training. Post-training tests showed that subjects in both treatment groups showed the most accuracy in estimating their BACs. However, there were no differences among the training groups in their perceived levels of intoxication and driving self-efficacy at post-training. These findings suggest that BAC feedback and mindfulness can improve accuracy in estimating BACs. However, there is no evidence that this improvement was accompanied by changes in perceptions of intoxication or self-efficacy to drive while intoxicated. These findings help inform future studies of the efficacy of improving BAC estimation accuracy but also some impediments to increasing risk awareness in the intoxicated state for at risk populations, such as recidivist DUI offenders.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2022.289

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