Psychophysiological responses to stress following alcohol intake in social drinkers who are at risk of hazardous drinking

Motohiro Nakajima, Santosh Kumar, Lorentz Wittmers, Marcia S. Scott, Mustafa N al'Absi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We examined whether social drinkers whose drinking behavior poses a risk for harmful consequences exhibit altered psychobiological responses to stress following moderate alcohol intake. At risk (n= 17) and low risk drinkers (n= 27), as identified by the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, completed two laboratory stress sessions, one in which they consumed a drink with alcohol and one without alcohol. Subjective and physiological measures were obtained throughout the study. Reported stimulation following alcohol consumption and sedation post-stress on alcohol day were greater than the no alcohol day in at risk drinkers (ps. < .05). Low risk drinkers exhibited stress dampening effects on cortisol levels (p< .05). This was not the case among the high risk drinkers. These results indicate that acute alcohol intake may be associated with enhanced subjective and altered hormonal responses to stress in individuals who are at risk for becoming problem drinkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by National Institutes of Health ( NIH UO1DA023812 ). During this study, Dr. al’Absi was also supported by the following grants R01DA016351 and R01DA027232 from NIH.


  • Alcohol
  • Cortisol
  • Stress
  • Substance use

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