Instructional control of the components of alcoholic drinking behavior

Peter M. Miller, Judith V. Becker, David W. Foy, Laura S. Wooten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to evaluate (1) the influence of instructions on modifying the components of the drinking behavior of alcoholics in the direction of controlled social drinking and (2) the interrelationships among these components. Three inpatient chronic alcoholic males were permitted to drink alcoholic beverages on a daily basis. All drinking sessions were videotaped and occurred within a simulated living room setting. Within a multiple baseline single case experimental design, subjects were sequentially instructed to decrease sip amount, increase intersip interval, and decrease potency (% of alcohol to mix) of their drinks. Instructional control was demonstrated for each component with all subjects. With two subjects, a negative reactivity among components was observed so that positive changes (i.e., toward a controlled drinking pattern) in one component resulted in negative changes (i.e., toward a more "alcoholic" drinking pattern) in other components. For example, as sip amount decreased, intersip interval also decreased so that subjects were drinking more rapidly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-480
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1976
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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