REFERENCE: Myers, C. A., Hovell, M. F., Elder, J. P., Hall, J. A. (1991). Paradoxical effects of blood alcohol concentration charts. Preventive Medicine, 20, 431-435.

Background. This study was designed to determine the association between alcohol drinking and the possession of blood alcohol concentration charts.

Method. A total of 30 college-age subjects participated in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group. All subjects answered a short entrance questionnaire to determine their height and weight. Those assigned to the experimental group were supplied a copy of a blood alcohol concentration chart and instructed in its use. The volume of alcoholic beverages consumed was surreptitiously counted for all subjects. Prior to leaving the premises the subjects completed an exit questionnaire which asked them to estimate the amount of alcohol they had consumed, whether they had driven to the pub, and whether they intended to drive away. The time spent in the pub was noted for each subject.

Results. Among those in the control group there was a tendency to overestimate the volume consumed, and for those in the experimental group, a tendency to more accurately estimate their consumption. Those given blood alcohol concentration charts consumed alcohol at a significantly higher rate than did those in the control group.

Conclusion. A likely explanation for this outcome is that the chart served as a stimulus to prompt a drinker to more quickly achieve a blood alcohol level consistent with his/her drinking expectancies.


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