Mixing an Energy Drink with an Alcoholic Beverage Increases Motivation for More Alcohol in College Students

Authors


  • The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism or the National Institutes of Health.

Reprint requests: Cecile A. Marczinski, PhD, Department of Psychological Science, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY 41099; Tel.:  859-572-1438; Fax:  859-572-6085; E-mail: marczinskc1@nku.edu

Abstract

Background

There has been a dramatic rise in the consumption of alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) in social drinkers. It has been suggested that AmED beverages might lead individuals to drink greater quantities of alcohol. This experiment was designed to investigate whether the consumption of AmEDs would alter alcohol priming (i.e., increasing ratings of wanting another drink) compared with alcohol alone.

Methods

Participants (= 80) of equal gender attended 1 session where they were randomly assigned to receive 1 of 4 doses (0.91 ml/kg vodka, 1.82 ml/kg energy drink, 0.91 ml/kg vodka mixed with 1.82 ml/kg energy drink [AmED], or a placebo beverage). Alcohol-induced priming of the motivation to drink was assessed by self-reported ratings on the Desire for Drug questionnaire.

Results

The priming dose of alcohol increased the subjective ratings of “desire” for more alcohol, consistent with previous research that small doses of alcohol can increase the motivation to drink. Furthermore, higher desire ratings over time were observed with AmEDs compared with alcohol alone. Finally, ratings of liking the drink were similar for the alcohol and AmED conditions.

Conclusions

An energy drink may elicit increased alcohol priming. This study provides laboratory evidence that AmED beverages may lead to greater motivation to drink versus the same amount of alcohol consumed alone.

Ancillary