Sex Differences in Associations Between Delay Discounting and Expectancies for Alcohol Analgesia

Erin Ferguson, Darya Vitus, Michelle Williams, Molly Anderson, Lisa LaRowe, Joseph W. Ditre, Bethany Stennett, Jeff Boissoneault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-medication of pain with alcohol is prevalent, and expectancies for alcohol analgesia likely influence pain relief and alcohol consumption. Hazardous alcohol use has been associated with greater delay discounting rates; however, little is known about the relationship between delay discounting and expectancies for alcohol analgesia. Therefore, the present study examined sex differences in associations between delay discounting and expectancies for alcohol analgesia. Healthy drinkers without chronic pain (N = 53) completed measures of expectancies for alcohol analgesia, alcohol use, and alcohol outcome expectancies. A five-trial adjusting-delay discounting task (DDT) for monetary outcomes was also administered. Regression analyses revealed that sex moderated the relationship between delay discounting and expectancies for alcohol analgesia. Steeper delay discounting rates were associated with weaker expectancies for alcohol analgesia among men when adjusting for average alcohol consumption. Among women, nonsignificant associations between delay discounting rates and expectancies for alcohol analgesia were observed. These findings provide initial evidence of sex differences in associations between delay discounting and expectancies for alcohol analgesia. The directionality of these associations was unexpected and may have implications for patterns of self-medication with alcohol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-872
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Volume30
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 19 2021

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Analgesia
  • Delay discounting
  • Expectancies
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology

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