Further examination of the temporal stability of alcohol demand


Demand, or the amount of a substance consumed as a function of price, is a central dependent measure in behavioral economic research and represents the relative valuation of a substance. Although demand is often utilized as an index of substance use severity and is assumed to be relatively stable, recent experimental and clinical research has identified conditions in which demand can be manipulated, such as through craving and stress inductions, and treatment. Our study examines the 1-month reliability of the alcohol purchase task in a sample of heavy drinking college students. We also analyzed reliability in subgroup of individuals whose consumption decreased, increased, or stayed the same over the 1-month period, and in individuals with moderate/severe Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) vs. those with no/mild AUD. Reliability was moderate in the full sample, high in the group with stable consumption, and did not differ appreciably between AUD groups. Observed indices and indices derived from an exponentiated equation (Koffarnus et al., 2015) were generally comparable, although Pmax observed had very low reliability. Area under the curve, Omax derived, and essential value showed the greatest reliability in the full sample (rs = 0.75–0.77). These results provide evidence for the relative stability over time of demand and across AUD groups, particularly in those whose consumption remains stable.

Publication Title

Behavioural Processes