This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Influence of Alcohol Reinforcement on Choice in the Moment




Tseng, Andy

Type of Degree





Behavioral economic theory suggests that individuals choose to perform certain activities (e.g. drug use) based on constraints of obtaining access to the activity (e.g. cost of obtaining drugs) and the available alternative activities (Tucker, Vuchinich, Black, & Rippens, 2006). The Adolescent Reinforcement Survey Schedule – Substance Use Version (ARSS-SUV; Murphy, Correia, Colby, & Vuchinich, 2005) uses a substance-related to substance-free ratio to assess the relative reinforcing value of alcohol in the natural environment and found that individuals with more access to substance-free activities consumed less alcohol compared to those with more substance-related activities. A multiple choice procedure (MCP; Little & Correia, 2006; Benson, Little, Henslee, & Correia, 2008) has also been used to assess the relative reinforcing value of alcohol asking individuals to make discreet choices between alcohol and alternative reinforcers. All previous studies collected data with paper-and-pencil surveys but online research assessing reinforcement and alcohol use is lacking. The current study compared the MCP and ARSS-SUV in an online format to determine if the relative reinforcing value of alcohol in the natural environment predicts the value of alcohol on a given choice point. Results suggested that the ARSS-SUV correlated with alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and binge drinking but not the MCP survey. Inconsistent with previous studies, the MCP survey wasn’t correlated with any drinking variable other than binge drinking, suggesting that the MCP survey didn’t translate to an online format. Future studies should consider using the paper-and-pencil and online formats in conjunction to determine if the two methods are comparable.