Effect of a Smartphone-delivered Intervention Using Imagery and Self-control Training on Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking: an Experimental Study

  • M.S. Hagger
  • G.G. Wong


Background. Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to maladaptive outcomes. This experiment examined the effectiveness of mental simulation and self-control training in reducing alcohol consumption. Method. Undergraduates (N=78) were randomised to one of 4 conditions in a 2(mental simulation: mental simulation vs. irrelevant imagery) x 2(self-control training: challenging vs. easy Stroop task) experimental design. For the mental simulation manipulation, participants received either a mental simulation task requiring visualisation of steps required to reduce alcohol intake or an irrelevant imagery task. For the self-control training manipulation, participants completed either incongruent (challenging) or incongruent (easy) Stroop-colour naming tasks twice daily on their smartphone. Findings. Self-control training predicted alcohol consumption (partial eta squared=.022) but not mental simulation. No interaction effect for the manipulations on alcohol consumption was found. Discussion. Results support an effect of self-control training on alcohol consumption, but not the hypothesis that training is more effective for individuals whose motivation is enhanced through mental simulation.
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