Impulsivity Moderates the Relationship Between Implicit Associations About Alcohol and Alcohol Use

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Abstract

Implicit associations about alcohol are strong predictors of alcohol use, as is the personality trait of impulsivity. This study examines the role of impulsivity as a moderator of the association between implicit associations about alcohol and alcohol use. Two hundred and 19 participants completed measures of positive and negative implicit associations, as measured by the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and self-report questionnaires of impulsivity and alcohol use in the past month. Trait impulsivity was broken down into five facets identified in previous research. All facets of impulsivity and positive implicit associations about alcohol were positively correlated with past month alcohol use. The urgency facets (positive and negative) of impulsivity (acting rashly in response to strong positive or negative mood) moderated the relationship between positive implicit associations about alcohol and alcohol use. Compared to individuals low on positive or negative urgency, individuals high on positive or negative urgency tended to report acting more in line with their positive implicit associations by reporting more drinking in the past month.

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