Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Behavioral Science



First Advisor

Amy Stamates


The present study primarily aimed to (a) determine the effects of environmental context and the expectancy of alcohol consumption on changes in reflection-impulsivity (R-I), a state behavioral aspect of impulsivity and (b) test R-I as a mediator of the association between environment, expectancy of alcohol consumption, and subjective craving for alcohol in a sample of college-aged heavy drinkers. Participants were 81 (76.5% female) college students between the ages of 21 and 29 (M = 21.86, SD = 1.87) who were classified as heavy drinkers. Participants first completed measures of alcohol use, trait impulsivity, behavioral R-I, and subjective craving for alcohol in a neutral location prior to being randomized into one of four conditions: (1) a neutral environment without the expectancy of alcohol consumption, (2) a neutral environment with the expectancy of alcohol consumption, (3) a simulated bar without the expectancy of alcohol consumption, and (4) a simulated bar with the expectancy of alcohol consumption. Participants completed post-condition exposure assessments of R-I and subjective craving. Post hoc analyses determined that statistical tests for both aims were underpowered. As such, significant findings may not have been detected due to a high probability of Type II error and thus, null findings should be considered with caution. Findings revealed that environment nor expectancy of alcohol consumption elicited changes in R-I or subjective craving. There was a significant effect of time on R-I, whereby R-I improved over time. Such improvement may suggest the potential presence of a testing effect. Further, the association between condition and subjective craving for alcohol was not mediated by RI. Trait impulsivity was found to positively associate with subjective craving at baseline and post-condition exposure. Thus, alcohol-related cues in one’s environment and the priming of future alcohol consumption were not found to elicit changes in R-I or subsequent increases in subjective craving for alcohol. Future research may benefit from replication, as the COVID-19 pandemic may impacted the internal and external validity of this study.



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