Effects of alcohol consumption on the prevention and alleviation of stress-reactions

Nora E. Noel, Stephen A. Lisman, Mitchell L. Schare, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Alcohol's Stress-Response-Dampening (SRD) effect has been the subject of much research, but little has been done to examine the effects of drinking alcohol after experiencing a stressor (Stress-Response-Recovery: SRR). In this study, 65 male and 65 female moderate or heavy drinking undergraduates were randomly assigned (with equal numbers of each sex per group) to 1 of 13 groups. Six experimental conditions were used to compare alcohol's SRD and SRR effects with two doses (moderate: .75 ml/kg; low: .33 ml/kg) and a placebo, and seven control conditions were used to measure the effects of the stressor (uncontrollable aversive noise) and the alcohol doses alone on the dependent measures. The major dependent variable was escape learning in a human shuttle box. In the SRD conditions, subjects who drank a moderate dose of alcohol learned to escape faster than those drinking the low dose or placebo. However, in the SRR conditions, subjects in the placebo group did not show escape learning deficits, in contrast to the impaired performance of subjects in the two alcohol groups. These results suggest a complex alcohol-stress relationship in which timing, dose, and expectations about alcohol lead to differential SRD and SRR effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-577
Number of pages11
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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