The effects of alcohol on interrogative suggestibility: The role of State-Anxiety and mood states as mediating factors


Police College of Finland, P.O. Box 13, 02151 Espoo, Finland.


Purpose. The goal of this study was to determine whether alcohol would increase or decrease interrogative suggestibility. Methods. Four groups of participants (N = 51) were administered the story and immediate recall of the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale 2. After this they were administered one of three doses of alcohol or a placebo followed by delayed recall and the questioning part of the scale. Changes in mood and anxiety were monitored with the help of Profile of Mood States and Spielberger State-Anxiety Scale. Results. Alcohol decreased yielding to leading questions both before (Yield 1) and after (Yield 2) interrogative pressure was applied but had no effect on changing answers in response to the pressure (Shift). State-Anxiety and Clearheaded-Confused mood were found to mediate the effects of alcohol on Yield 2. No other significant mediational relationships were found. Conclusions. Alcohol appears to decrease suggestibility with the exception of reactions to applied interrogative pressure. This decrease is not totally explainable by the mediating effects of either mood states or anxiety.