Alcohol, sexual arousal, and self-control

David B. Abrams, G. Terence Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigated the effects of alcohol on self-regulation using delay of gratification for viewing time for an erotic film as the primary dependent measure. Other measures included reflection-impulsivity, locus of control, sexual-guilt scores, and continuous recording of Ss' penile tumescence. Using a balanced placebo design with 50 undergraduate men, Ss were led to believe that they had consumed an alcoholic or a nonalcoholic beverage, and half of each of these 2 groups received either alcohol or tonic water. In addition, the effects of 3 doses of alcohol (placebo, low dose, high dose) were investigated. Instructional set, regardless of drink content, resulted in longer delay times and increased thoughts with sexual content. Although there was no significant relation between increasing dose of alcohol and delay time, there was an interaction between scores on Rotter's Internal-External Locus of Control Scale and alcohol dose. Externalizers showed an inverse linear relation between increasing dose of alcohol and delay time. Internalizers showed the opposite trend. Results support other research showing that expectations about drinking can be more potent predictors of behavior than the pharmacological impact of alcohol. Implications for the self-regulation of sexual behavior under the influence of alcohol are discussed. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-198
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1983


  • alcohol, sexual arousal &
  • internal vs external locus of control &
  • self control in delayed gratification, male college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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