Previous research has shown that social drinkers continue to show attentional bias toward alcohol-related stimuli even after consuming a moderate dose of alcohol. In contrast, little is known about how alcohol acutely affects attentional bias in groups at risk to develop alcohol-related problems, such as adults with attentiondeficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Such individuals may show increased attentional bias following alcohol relative to nonclinical controls. The present study tested this hypothesis by examining acute alcohol effects on attentional bias in 20 social drinkers with ADHD and 20 social drinkers with no history of ADHD. Participants performed a visual-probe task after receiving the following doses of alcohol: 0.64g/kg, 0.32g/kg, and 0.0g/kg (placebo). Those in the ADHD group showed increased attentional bias under active alcohol doses, whereas attentional bias was similar across doses in the control group. Attentional bias predicted ad libitum alcohol consumption during a taste-rating session. This relation was observed only in the ADHD group. These findings indicate that an acute alcohol dose increases attentional bias in adults with ADHD. Further, attentional bias appears to be a predictor of ad libitum consumption in this group.

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Roberts, W., Fillmore, M. T., & Milich, R. (2012) Drinking to Distraction: Does Alcohol Increase Attentional Bias in Adults With ADHD?. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 20, (2): 107-117.

Copyright © 2012 American Psychological Association.

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