Clinical correlates of attentional bias to drug cues associated with cocaine dependence

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Background and Objective:Preoccupation (attentional bias) related to drug-related stimuli has been consistently observed for drug-dependent persons with several studies reporting an association of the magnitude of measured attentional bias with treatment outcomes. The major goal of the present study was to determine if pre-treatment attentional bias to personal drug use reminders in an addiction Stroop task predicts relapse in treatment-seeking, cocaine-dependent subjects.Methods:We sought to maximize the potential of attentional bias as a marker of risk for relapse by incorporating individualized rather than generalized drug use cues to reflect the personal conditioned associations that form the incentive motivation properties of drug cues in a sample of cocaine-dependent subjects (N = 35).Results:Although a significant group Stroop interference effect was present for drug versus neutral stimuli (ie, attentional bias), the level of attentional bias for cocaine-use words was not predictive of eventual relapse in this sample (d = .56). A similar lack of prediction power was observed for a non-drug counting word Stroop task as a significant interference effect was detected but did not predict relapse outcomes (d = .40).Conclusions and Scientific Significance:The results of the present study do not provide clear support for the predictive value of individual variation in drug-related attentional bias to forecast probability of relapse in cocaine-dependent men. (Am J Addict 2014;23:478–484)

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