Mood, cue and gender influences on motivation, craving and liking for alcohol in recreational drinkers

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The effects of exposure to an alcohol-related cue (drinking low-alcohol beer) and a musical depression/elation mood induction procedure, on craving, motivation and liking for alcohol, were studied in male and female recreational drinkers. Alcohol craving was assessed using the multidimensional desires for alcohol questionnaire (DAQ), motivation for alcohol was assessed by performance on a progressive ratio (PR) task reinforced with small volumes (25 ml) of low-alcohol beer, and liking for the reinforcers earned in the PR task was assessed using a visual analogue scale. Consumption of a half-pint of low-alcohol beer increased alcohol craving in male subjects but had no effect or decreased craving in female subjects. Subsequent induction of a depressed mood increased craving scores, relative to elated or neutral mood groups, but these effects were confined to abstinent (non-cued) subjects, both male and female. Performance on the PR task correlated significantly with one of the four factors of the DAQ, negative reinforcement, and was increased by induction of a depressed mood in abstinent female and cued male subjects. Reinforcer liking was unchanged following mood induction in male subjects, but decreased in both groups of female subjects. To summarize, the cue of drinking low-alcohol beer increased alcohol craving in men but not in women, and induction of a depressed mood increased alcohol craving and motivation, but also decreased alcohol liking. These effects were present to different extents in different cue/gender subgroups, and were partially independent. Behav Pharmacol 1998; 9:631-642 © 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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