I studied Psychology at Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). I am a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University and my professional focus is on alcohol consumption in young people, the predisposing or vulnerability factors and the related consequences at behavioral and brain levels.
Edith Sullivan, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Understanding Attentional Biases in Severe Alcohol Use Disorder: A Combined Behavioral and Eye-Tracking Perspective.
Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
RATIONALE: Severe alcohol use disorder (SAUD) is a psychiatric condition linked to cerebral and cognitive consequences. SAUD is notably characterized by an overactivation of the reflexive/reward system when confronted with alcohol-related cues. Such overreactivity generates a preferential allocation of attentional resources toward these cues, labeled as attentional biases (AB). Theoretical assumptions have been made regarding the characteristics of AB and their underlying processes. While often considered as granted, these assumptions remain to be experimentally validated.AIMS: We first identify the theoretical assumptions made by previous studies exploring the nature and role of AB. We then discuss the current evidence available to establish their validity. We finally propose research avenues to experimentally test them.METHODS: Capitalizing on a narrative review of studies exploring AB in SAUD, the current limits of the behavioral measures used for their evaluation are highlighted as well as the benefits derived from the use of eye-tracking measures to obtain a deeper understanding of their underlying processes. We describe the issues related to the theoretical proposals on AB and propose research avenues to test them. Four experimental axes are proposed, respectively, related to the determination of (a) the genuine nature of the mechanisms underlying AB; (b) their stability over the disease course; (c) their specificity to alcohol-related stimuli and (d) their reflexive or controlled nature.CONCLUSIONS: This in-depth exploration of the available knowledge related to AB in SAUD, and of its key limitations, highlights the theoretical and clinical interest of our innovative experimental perspectives capitalizing on eye-tracking measures.
View details for DOI 10.1093/alcalc/agaa062
View details for PubMedID 32839821
Distinct psychological profiles among college students with substance use: A cluster analytic approach.
2020; 109: 106477
Substance use in youth is a central public health concern, related to deleterious consequences at psychological, social, and cognitive/cerebral levels. Previous research has identified impulsivity and consumption motives as key factors in the emergence of excessive substance use among college students. However, most studies have focused on a specific substance and have considered this population as a unitary group, ignoring the potential heterogeneity in psychological profiles. We used a cluster analytic approach to explore the heterogeneity in a large sample (N=2741) of substance users (i.e., tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin) on impulsivity and consumption motives. We identified four clusters: The first two clusters, associated with good self-esteem, low anxiety, and moderate substance use, were respectively characterized by low impulsivity and consumption motives (Cluster 1) and by high social and enhancement motives without marked impulsivity (Cluster 2). The two other clusters were conversely related to low self-esteem and high anxiety, and characterized by high consumption motives (particularly conformity) together with elevated urgency (Cluster 3) and by globally increased impulsivity and consumption motives (Cluster 4). These two clusters were also associated with higher substance use. These results highlight the existence of distinct psychological profiles of substance users and underline the need to develop targeted prevention and intervention programs (e.g., focusing on the specific impulsivity facets and consumption motives presented by each subgroup). Based on these findings, we also suggest extending the exploration of distinct profiles of substance users by targeting other psychological variables (e.g., self-esteem).
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106477
View details for PubMedID 32485549
What We Talk About When We Talk About Binge Drinking: Towards an Integrated Conceptualization and Evaluation.
Alcohol and alcoholism (Oxford, Oxfordshire)
Binge drinking (BD), characterized by recurring alternations between intense intoxication episodes and abstinence periods, is the most frequent alcohol consumption pattern in youth and is growing in prevalence among older adults. Many studies have underlined the specific harmful impact of this habit by showing impaired abilities in a wide range of cognitive functions among binge drinkers, as well as modifications of brain structure and function.Several controversies and inconsistencies currently hamper the harmonious development of the field and the recognition of BD as a specific alcohol consumption pattern. The main concern is the absence of consensual BD conceptualization, leading to variability in experimental group selection and alcohol consumption evaluation. The present paper aims at overcoming this key issue through a two-step approach.First, a literature review allows proposing an integrated BD conceptualization, distinguishing it from other subclinical alcohol consumption patterns. Six specific characteristics of BD are identified, namely, (1) the presence of physiological symptoms related to BD episodes, (2) the presence of psychological symptoms related to BD episodes, (3) the ratio of BD episodes compared to all alcohol drinking occasions, (4) the frequency of BD episodes, (5) the consumption speed and (6) the alternation between BD episodes and soberness periods. Second, capitalizing on this conceptual clarification, we propose an evaluation protocol jointly measuring these six BD characteristics. Finally, several research perspectives are presented to refine the proposed conceptualization.
View details for DOI 10.1093/alcalc/agaa041
View details for PubMedID 32556202