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Early Subjective Response and Acquired Tolerance as Predictors of Alcohol Use and Related Problems in a Clinical Sample
Version of Record online: 24 JAN 2013
Copyright © 2013 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 490–497, March 2013
How to Cite
Corbin, W. R., Scott, C., Leeman, R. F., Fucito, L. M., Toll, B. A. and O'Malley, S. S. (2013), Early Subjective Response and Acquired Tolerance as Predictors of Alcohol Use and Related Problems in a Clinical Sample. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37: 490–497. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01956.x
- Issue online: 28 FEB 2013
- Version of Record online: 24 JAN 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JUL 2012
- Manuscript Received: 28 SEP 2011
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Grant Numbers: R01-AA016621, K01 AA019694, KO5 AA01471, K23 AA020000
- Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
- Subjective Response;
- Alcohol Use;
- Alcohol Problems;
- Heavy Drinkers
Previous studies have demonstrated that a low subjective response (SR) to alcohol is a risk factor for alcohol use disorders (AUDs), and a recent study suggests that acquired tolerance can be differentiated from initial SR and is also significantly associated with drinking problems. Because the prior study of SR and tolerance focused on a sample of moderate drinkers, the goal of the current study was to examine relations between early SR, acquired tolerance, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems in a sample of young adults with clinically significant alcohol problems.
The current study examined associations between early SR and acquired tolerance and both drinking behavior and alcohol-related problems within a sample of 113 heavy drinking young adults (66.1% male) volunteering for a clinical trial of naltrexone in combination with brief motivational counseling.
Consistent with the 1 prior study examining simultaneous effects of early SR and tolerance, both early SR and acquired tolerance were positively associated with typical drinking behavior, although tolerance was a much stronger predictor within this clinical sample. In contrast to the prior study, early SR was inversely associated with risk for alcohol-related problems, and tolerance was not a significant predictor of problems.
The results suggested that, controlling for weekly drinking, a low early SR protected against acute negative consequences within a sample of heavy drinkers who had acquired significant tolerance to alcohol effects. It is possible that this protective effect may eventually shift to a risk factor by allowing individuals with a low SR to persist in a pattern of hazardous drinking.