Effects of a Brief Cognitive Reappraisal Intervention on Reductions in Alcohol Consumption and Related Problems

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Research has shown links between interpersonal conflict and problematic drinking behaviors as a way to cope. The present research examined the effects of a brief interpersonal conflict cognitive reappraisal intervention on short-term reductions in alcohol-related problems in a sample of college student drinkers. Undergraduates who were regular drinkers (N = 190) participated in a randomized control online study, completing self-reported measures of alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems at baseline and 2 weeks later. After completing the baseline survey, participants completed a brief writing intervention during which they were asked to reflect on a recent interpersonal conflict and write about it from 1 of 3 possible perspectives, 2 of which were targeting cognitive reappraisal (i.e., a neutral, third-party perspective and the other party’s perspective), their own perspective, or to reflect on their activities that day (control). Results from negative binomial regression models supported both reappraisal conditions: Compared with control, those who thought about the conflict from a neutral third-party perspective and those who thought about the conflict from the other party’s perspective reported significantly fewer drinking problems at follow-up. Results from this study suggest preliminary efficacy of a single-session writing intervention aimed at reappraising interpersonal conflict.

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