Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Cheryl Dickter, Catherine Forestell

Committee Member

Pamela Hunt

Committee Member

Frederick Smith

Abstract

Although previous research has indicated that children’s affective responses to the odor of alcohol differ as a function of parental escape drinking (i.e., drinking to avoid dysphoric emotion), little has been done to test this finding with visual cues. Moreover, research with adults indicates that those who are dependent on alcohol show attentional biases toward alcohol-related cues, but little has been done to determine whether exposure to parental drinking behavior affects attentional biases of the child. Thus the goal of the present experiment was to determine whether young children whose parents engage in problem drinking behavior also show an attentional bias towards alcohol-related cues. To measure these differences, 149 children’s implicit affective and attentional responses to pictures of alcohol were measured using the Affective Misattribution Procedure (AMP) and the dot-probe task, respectively. Although there were no significant differences as a function of parental alcohol dependency or escape drinking on children’s implicit affective responses, children who had an escape drinking parent demonstrated an implicit attentional bias towards alcohol when the pictures were presented for 2000 ms, but not 500 ms, whereas those whose parents were not escape drinkers did not demonstrate an attentional bias. These findings suggest that the emotional context in which the parent consumes alcohol has an effect on their child’s maintained attention towards alcohol.

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Available for download on Sunday, May 06, 2018

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