Mindfulness buffers the effects of cue-induced craving on alcohol demand in college drinkers

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Alcohol consumption among young adult college students represents a significant public health problem. The presence of alcohol-related cues in drinkers’ environments can trigger powerful alcohol cravings, which may influence drinking outcomes. Less is known about how this cue-induced craving influences behavioral economic demand for alcohol. In addition, research has suggested that trait mindfulness may be an important buffer of the effects of internal states of craving on drinking decisions. Based on this literature, we hypothesized that cue-induced cravings would be associated with increased alcohol demand, an effect that would be attenuated among drinkers who have higher levels of mindfulness. Young adult college student drinkers (n = 69) completed a laboratory-based cue-induced craving assessment, a self-report assessment of trait mindfulness, and an alcohol purchase task. Findings revealed that cue-induced craving was related to higher alcohol demand. Consistent with the study hypothesis, acceptance, a component of mindfulness, buffered the effects of cue-induced craving on alcohol demand. Results raise the possibility that mindfulness-based interventions may be useful in helping disrupt the link between internal states of craving and drinking decisions in young adult college student drinkers.

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Addictive Behaviors

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