Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jessica Brooks

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Nick Holtzman


Problematic alcohol use contributes to a number of related consequences each year, including the development of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD; APA, 2013). Efficacy for AUD treatments is supported by research; however, inadequate prevention programs and relapse rates are concerning (Brown et al., 2014). Purpose: The current study explored the relationship between mood and implicit attitudes towards alcohol with level of risk, including coping style, drinking motivation, and alcohol-related outcome expectancies, as a potential moderator. Method: This study used a cross-sectional, experimental design involving manipulation of mood by way of the Velten Mood Induction Procedure (Velten MIP; Velten, 1968). Additionally, a series of self-report measures and repeated administrations of the Implicit Association Test (IAT; Greenwald et al., 1998) measured implicit and explicit alcohol-related cognitions. Significance: This research design promotes the use of MIPs and IATs in alcohol research. Moreover, empirical support for this study can provide a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying problematic alcohol use. Results: The mood manipulation check did not yield significant results, indicating the MIP did not effectively create a significantly lower mood in the experimental condition compared to the control. Additionally, two 2 (MIP condition) x 2 (baseline IAT and post-IAT) mixed model ANOVAs produced significant main effects, indicating change in valence- and motivation-IAT scores; however, the interaction effect of Condition (negative MIP; neutral MIP)was not significant for either IAT type. Further, two hierarchical regressions found a non-significant relationship between change in Implicit Alcohol-related Cognitions and Condition. This relationship was not significantly moderated by Risk score. Last, two linear regressions indicated rurality status does not account for a significant amount of variance in problematic alcohol use or individual Risk score. Conclusion: The preliminary correlations conducted in this study found significant relationships between individual levels of risk, self-reported alcohol use, and implicit alcohol-related cognitions; however, the mood manipulation was not successful in yielding two distinct moods between the experimental and control conditions, thus compromising the primary results from this study. Future directions and limitations are discussed.

Research Data and Supplementary Material