Faculty Articles

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Adult, Advertising as Topic, Alcohol Drinking, Alcoholism, Cues, Ontario, Personality Inventory, Risk Factors, Social Environment, Social Facilitation, Television

Publication Title

Journal of Studies on Alcohol








The self-reported ability of 96 alcohol abusers to resist the urge to drink heavily was assessed after they viewed a videotape of a popular prime time television program complete with advertisements. Different versions of the videotape were used to evaluate the effects of a television program with and without alcohol scenes as crossed with the effects of three different types of commercials (i.e., beer, nonalcoholic beverages, food). Before and after viewing the videotape, subjects, who were led to believe that they were participating in two separate and unrelated sets of experimental procedures, completed several drinking questionnaires. Responses to one of the questionnaires provided an unobtrusive measure of self-reported ability to resist the urge to drink heavily. Results indicated that alcohol cues in a television program affected some alcohol abusers' perceived ability to resist the urge to drink heavily. In particular, those with higher alcohol dependence scores showed a decrease in confidence after viewing a television program with alcohol cues compared to subjects who watched the same program but without the alcohol scenes. The clinical implications of these findings are discussed. Until further research is forthcoming, given the artificial nature of the study setting, the results of this study must be viewed with some caution.

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