Behavioral Economic Measures of Alcohol Reward Value as Problem Severity Indicators in College Students

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

The aims of the current study were to examine the associations among behavioral economic measures of alcohol value derived from 3 distinct measurement approaches, and to evaluate their respective relations with traditional indicators of alcohol problem severity in college drinkers. Five behavioral economic metrics were derived from hypothetical demand curves that quantify reward value by plotting consumption and expenditures as a function of price, another metric measured proportional behavioral allocation and enjoyment related to alcohol versus other activities, and a final metric measured relative discretionary expenditures on alcohol (RDEA). The sample included 207 heavy-drinking college students (53% female) who were recruited through an on-campus health center or university courses. Factor analysis revealed that the alcohol valuation construct comprises 2 factors: 1 factor that reflects participants’ levels of alcohol price sensitivity (demand persistence), and a second factor that reflects participants’ maximum consumption and monetary and behavioral allocation toward alcohol (amplitude of demand). The demand persistence and behavioral allocation metrics demonstrated the strongest and most consistent multivariate relations with alcohol-related problems, even when controlling for other well-established predictors. The results suggest that behavioral economic indices of reward value show meaningful relations with alcohol problem severity in young adults. Despite the presence of some gender differences, these measures appear to be useful problem indicators for men and women.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles