Mira B. Cladder-Micus, J. Loes Pouwels, Maximillian Hennig, and Angela A.T. Schuurmans contributed equally to this work.
Facing temptation in the bar: counteracting the effects of self-control failure on young adults' ad libitum alcohol intake
Article first published online: 16 JAN 2014
© 2013 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 109, Issue 5, pages 746–753, May 2014
How to Cite
Otten, R., Cladder-Micus, M. B., Pouwels, J. L., Hennig, M., Schuurmans, A. A. T. and Hermans, R. C. J. (2014), Facing temptation in the bar: counteracting the effects of self-control failure on young adults' ad libitum alcohol intake. Addiction, 109: 746–753. doi: 10.1111/add.12446
- Issue published online: 10 APR 2014
- Article first published online: 16 JAN 2014
- Accepted manuscript online: 11 DEC 2013 03:52AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 28 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 11 NOV 2013
- Manuscript Received: 13 SEP 2013
- bar laboratory;
- ego depletion;
- young adults
Background and Aims
The self-control strength model suggests that exertion of self-control leads to poorer subsequent self-control performance. Failure of self-control has been suggested as an important underlying mechanism of excessive drinking. This study tested the effects of self-control failure on ad libitum drinking, and the potential moderating role of glucose and self-awareness on this relationship.
The current research examined in two experiments whether the effects of self-control failure were different for males and females, and whether glucose (experiment 1) and self-awareness (experiment 2) would counteract the effects of self-control failure. A between-participants design with four conditions was employed in each experiment.
A semi-naturalistic drinking setting in the form of a laboratory bar.
Undergraduate students recruited at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands (experiment 1: n = 106; experiment 2: n = 108).
The total amount of alcohol consumed during an experimental break (observational data) and questionnaire data on drinking patterns.
Self-control failure led to increased levels of drinking in males (P < 0.05), whereas females drank less after being depleted (P < 0.01). Self-awareness, but not glucose, was found to counteract the effects of self-control failure among males (P < 0.05).
Self-control failure leads to increased drinking of alcohol in males and decreased levels of drinking alcohol in females. However, increasing self-awareness appears to be a promising strategy in facing the temptation to drink when cognitive resources to inhibit intake are low.