At-risk drinking, operant demand, and cross-commodity discounting as predictors of drunk driving in underage college women

Gideon P. Naudé, Matthew W. Johnson, Justin C. Strickland, Meredith S. Berry, Derek D. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral economics offers unique tools for assessing value and motivation associated with college drinking. Tasks that model changes in consumption as a function of price (operant demand) or the decline in an outcome's subjective value as a function of time-to-occurrence (delay discounting) provide valuable information that may efficiently supplement clinical screening instruments when characterizing alcohol use severity. The first aim of this investigation was to examine the extent to which at-risk drinking, operant demand for alcohol, and single- and cross-commodity discounting of money and alcohol predict adverse consequences of past-month drinking in underage college women (N = 72). The second aim was to determine whether these clinical and behavioral economic measures could significantly predict the odds of past-month drunk driving, a serious public health concern due to the increasing prevalence of heavy episodic drinking among women in their first 1 – 2 years of college. Results showed that higher scores on the consumption factor of the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT-C), higher Persistence (consumption amidst constraint) and Amplitude (maximum consumption) of demand, as well as lower rates of discounting for choices between alcohol now or double the amount after a delay (choosing the larger amount of alcohol even when it is delayed) significantly predicted adverse consequences of past-month drinking. Moreover, higher scores on the AUDIT-C, higher Amplitude of demand, and greater discounting for choices between alcohol now and money later (choosing immediately available alcohol at the expense of double the equivalent in delayed money) significantly predicted past-month drunk driving. We contend that operant demand along with single- and cross-commodity discounting can be viewed as intersecting measures of reinforcer value with clinical relevance to college women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104548
JournalBehavioural Processes
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Alcohol
  • College women
  • Cross-commodity discounting
  • Delay discounting
  • Drunk driving
  • Operant demand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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