Deprivation in rewards and alcohol misuse


Behavioral economics states that alcohol misuse is inversely related with reinforcement from alternative sources, as operationalized by Herrnstein’s matching law. Thus, alcohol misuse is influenced by environmental constrains and is promulgated by deprivation of reward from alternative (nonalcohol) sources. This chapter briefly describes the history of research on reward deprivation before describing currently available approaches for the measurement of reward deprivation. Next, the current research using these measurement approaches is reviewed, including cross-sectional and longitudinal relations. The chapter ends by describing intervention approaches that embody the spirit of behavioral economics by purposefully targeting engagement in alternative activities.

Publication Title

Neuroscience of Alcohol: Mechanisms and Treatment