Breath Alcohol Estimation Training: Behavioral Effects and Predictors of Success

  1. Elizabeth R. Aston1,
  2. Rebecca H. Neiberg2 and
  3. Anthony Liguori1,3,*
  1. 1Neuroscience Program, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
  2. 2Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Biostatistical Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
  3. 3Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA
  1. *Corresponding author: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA. Tel.: +1-336-716-8543; Fax: +1-336-716-8501; E-mail: aliguori{at}wakehealth.edu
  • Received December 14, 2012.
  • Revision requested January 21, 2013.
  • Revision received April 23, 2013.
  • Accepted April 25, 2013.

Aims: Breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) estimation training has been effective in increasing estimation accuracy in social drinkers. Predictors of estimation accuracy may identify populations to target for training, yet potential predictors typically are not evaluated. In addition, the therapeutic efficacy of estimation training as a preventive strategy for problematic drinking is unknown. Methods: Forty-six social drinkers with a recent binge history were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group (n = 23 per group). In each of three sessions (pretraining, training, testing), participants consumed alcohol (0.32, 0.24, 0.16 and 0.08 g/kg, in random order) every 30 min (total dose: 0.8 g/kg). Participants provided five BrAC estimates within 3 h of alcohol administration. The intervention group, but not control group, received internal and external training. During testing, participants provided BrAC estimates, but received no feedback. Participants returned for two follow-up visits to complete self-report measures. Results: BrAC estimation training improved intervention group estimation accuracy within the laboratory. Together, training, low trait anxiety and low risk expectancy predicted high testing accuracy. There were no significant group differences in subsequent alcohol consumption, behavior under the influence or risk expectancy regarding potentially hazardous behaviors. Conclusion: BrAC estimation training is effective in the laboratory but may not translate into naturalistic settings.