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On the role of (implicit) drinking self-identity in alcohol use and problematic drinking: A comparison of five measures.

Authors
  • Cummins, Jamie1
  • Lindgren, Kristen P2
  • De Houwer, Jan1
  • 1 Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University.
  • 2 Department of Psychology, University of Washington.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Psychology of addictive behaviors : journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
Volume
35
Issue
4
Pages
458–471
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/adb0000643
PMID: 33119326
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Objective: Implicit and explicit drinking self-identity appear to be useful in predicting alcohol-related outcomes. However, there are several different implicit and explicit measures which can be used to assess drinking self-identity. Some of these implicit measures can also capture relational information (e.g., I am a drinker, I should be a drinker), which might provide unique advantages. Despite the importance of having good measures of drinking self-identity, to date there has been little direct comparison of these measures. Method: This study (N = 358) systematically compared two commonly used measures of drinking self-identity (one implicit and one explicit: the Implicit Association Test [IAT] and the Alcohol Self-Concept Scale [ASCS]) with three relational measures of implicit self-identity (the autobiographical IAT [aIAT], the Relational Responding Task [RRT], and the Propositional Concealed Information Test [pCIT]) on a range of criteria relevant to experimental and clinical alcohol researchers. Results: Overall, we found mixed performances on the implicit measures. Interestingly, the aIAT, which probed should-based drinking identity, performed better than the standard IAT. However, the explicit measure exhibited superior performance to all other measures across all criteria. Conclusions: Our results suggest that researchers who wish to assess drinking-related self-identity and to predict alcohol-related outcomes cross-sectionally should set their focus primarily on the use (and further development) of the ASCS, rather than any of the implicit measures. Future research focusing on the ASCS should seek to investigate the generalizability of our findings to patient populations, and incorporate relational information within that procedure to further improve upon its already-strong utility. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

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