Alcohol and Depression: Effects on Mood and Biased Processing of Self-Relevant Information

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Alcohol's effects on mood and processing of self-relevant information were studied in a sample of 57 college students (39 men and 18 women). Participants were blocked on level of depression and were randomly assigned to alcohol or placebo conditions. After beverage consumption, participants processed trait adjectives under self-relevant and semantic-processing instructions. Results showed that biased processing of depressed-content adjectives by depressed participants under placebo conditions was reversed after consuming alcohol. Further, reduced recall of depressed-content, self-relevant information after alcohol consumption was significantly related to alcohol-enhanced mood in depressed participants. Results are discussed in relation to mechanisms of reinforcement that may link the coexistence of alcohol abuse and affective disorders.

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