The role of neuropsychological mechanisms in implementation intentions to reduce alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers: a randomized trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Elly Mcgrath
  • Rebecca Elliott
  • Tim Millar
  • Christopher J. Armitage


Implementation intention formation, which involves identifying triggers and linking them with coping strategies, has proven effective at reducing alcohol consumption in general populations. For the first time, the present study tested the ability of implementation intentions to reduce alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers and to explore potential neuropsychological mechanisms. At baseline, participants were randomized to form implementation intentions or to an active control group. There was a 5.7 unit (1 unit = 10 ml or 8 g ethanol) per week reduction ([95%CI 0.15, 11.19], p = 0.048) in alcohol consumption at 1 month follow-up among participants who formed implementation intentions, which was significantly more than controls F(1, 91) = 3.95, p = 0.048, a medium effect size (d = 0.47, Cohen, 1992). No significant differences in performance on the neuropsychological tasks were found between groups. The present study demonstrates for the first time that implementation intentions reduce alcohol consumption among heavy drinkers.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019