• Carver, Charles S (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The general objective of the proposed project is to further the
understanding of the processes that underlie relapse into alcohol use among
persons who have been treated for alcoholism. The nature of the research
is such that it has implications both for the problem of failing to
complete treatment once it is begun, and for the broader problem of relapse
following successful treatment. The project will examine the effects of a
set of variables derived from a control-process model of behavioral
self-regulation. Thus, the research has theoretical as well as pragmatic
implications. The reasoning behind the research stems from three core
assumptions: The first is that when large and relatively fixed
discrepancies exist between one's present state and one's desired state in
some important behavioral domain, focusing attention inward to the self is
aversive and promotes an impulse to disengage from further consideration of
the domain. The second is that alcohol use represents one way in which
persons strategically reduce their levels of self-focus, thus avoiding
focusing on the threatening discrepancy. The third is that an important
moderator of this disengagement may be the person's degree of confidence or
doubt concerning ultimate discrepancy reduction (i.e., good outcomes). We
propose to study 300 persons who have begun treatment for alcoholism in one
of three treatment facilities. Self-reports will be collected at several
points in time concerning recent stressful life events, level of
dispositional self-focus, and level of expectancies concerning important
life outcomes. Subjects' progress through the treatment program will be
monitored as one dependent variable. Follow-up measures of life events and
current levels of alcohol consumption will be taken 2 months, 4 months, 6
months, and 11 months following completion of treatment, with relapse as
the second major dependent variable. Predictions in all cases focus on the
combination of high self-focus plus unfavorable expectancies (defined in
several different ways) as a predictor of early return to alcohol use.
Effective start/end date8/1/857/31/89


  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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