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Behavioral Alcohol Research for Clinical Advancement (Corbin)

Keywords: alcohol, college, subjective response, prevention, self-control, personality, expectancies, context, comorbidity

Lab Research Area:

The Behavioral Alcohol Research for Clinical Advancement lab (BARCA) conducts laboratory and survey research on processes involved in alcohol-related problems including alcohol use disorders. Laboratory-based studies are conducted in a simulated bar on the Arizona State University campus, the BARCA Lounge. Participants are administered alcohol and then observed in this quasi-naturalistic setting. Survey studies are designed to track drinking and other risky behaviors longitudinally to identify risk and protective factors for the development of related problems. The goal of both types of studies is to better inform prevention and intervention efforts.The BARCA lab will continue to apply the knowledge gained through experimental and longitudinal studies to the prevention and treatment of addictive behaviors.

The focus of BARCA's research is on factors that contribute to the development of alcohol related problems in adolescents and young adults. Substance use disorders are now the third most common psychiatric diagnosis, trailing only mood and anxiety disorders in prevalence in the general population. In addition, heavy alcohol use contributes to a host of high-risk behaviors with their own associated costs. Examples include unprotected sexual behavior that increases risk for HIV/AIDS, other drug use, problem gambling, and driving under the influence, which is responsible for a large proportion of traffic-related fatalities. The goals of Dr. Corbin's research are to improve our understanding of factors that lead to the development of alcohol related problems; and to develop effective programs for reducing alcohol-related harm in adolescents and young adults. The first research aim is met through a combination of a) longitudinal survey research on risk factors for heavy drinking and engagement in other risk behaviors (e.g. high risk sexual behavior, gambling), b) laboratory based research on the relation between subjective response to alcohol and risk for alcohol-related problems, and c) laboratory based research on the effects of alcohol on basic cognitive processes, decision making, and risk-taking. The second aim is met through prevention outcome studies targeting alcohol use and associated risk behaviors.

Current Projects

Contextual Influences on Alcohol Response and its Relation to Drinking Outcomes (NIAAA R01; July 2013 – June 2018). This project is designed to comprehensively assess alcohol response across multiple settings, including those that are more representative of real-world drinking contexts. Findings will facilitate the development of prevention programs that target unique patterns of response to alcohol across contexts.

Promotive and Protective Factors for Alcohol Use and Problems in Emerging Adults (NIAAA R21; September 2013 – August 2016). This project involves secondary data analyses to identify major classes of promotive/protective factors against heavy drinking and related problems in emerging adults. The results of these analyses will be used to develop a novel prevention program to bolster promotive/protective influences in incoming college students. We are currently evaluating the efficacy of this new program for students enrolled in PSY 191 at Arizona State University.

Genetic Mechanisms of Change in Trajectories of Drinking and Other Deviant Behaviors (with Dr. Kim Fromme; NIAAA R01; September 2012 – June 2017). The goals of this project are to collect survey and DNA data from an existing longitudinal sample to test the genetic mechanisms underlying different trajectories of drinking and other behavioral risks. Specifically, we are testing generalized deviance and subjective response to alcohol as distinct mechanisms through which genetic factors operate.

ASU Support for Success Initiative for Students in Transition to College (ASSIST-C) (with Drs. Tom Dishion, Leah Doane, Thao Ha, and the Office of Educational Outreach and Student Services). In collaboration with ASU professional staff, the ASU research faculty formulated a strengths-based curriculum for youth and parents that was offered to a random subset of incoming 2015 ASU students and their families. The program included modules on goal setting, academic engagement, peer relationships, romantic relationships, health behaviors, and emotional health. Data collection is now complete and we are currently evaluating the outcomes of the program.

Trait and state ECF deficits under alcohol: Developmental paths to alcohol misuse (submitted to NIAAA for review; with Drs. Laurie Chassin and Madeline Meier). This project examines both state and trait executive cognitive functions (ECF) and acute tolerance alcohol effects as potential mechanisms through which a family history of alcoholism contributes to risk for alcohol-related problems. The project brings together a rich three-generation longitudinal study of family history, an alcohol challenge, and retinal imaging to address this important research question.

Anxiety and Subjective Response to Alcohol: Moderating Effects of Drinking Context and Mediation by Cortisol Response to Alcohol. This study aims to understand the nature of relations among anxiety symptoms, physiological response to alcohol (specifically, changes in salivary cortisol levels in response to alcohol) and subjective response to alcohol. Analyses will also address the extent to which drinking context impacts relations among these variables. 

Self-Control Motivation and Capacity Survey measurement development. These studies sought to create a new brief survey measure of top-down self-control that differentiates between self-control capacity, internal motivation, and external motivation.  The three subscales uniquely related to various self-reported behavioral outcomes, and accounted for additional variance beyond that accounted for by a widely used measure of self-control (BSCS; Tangney, Baumeister, & Boone, 2004). Future studies are needed to establish the stability of multiple dimensions of self-control, their ability to prospectively predict health risk and protective behavior, and to develop state-like and domain-specific measures of self-control.


Lab Director and Principal Investigator: William R. Corbin, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training

Dr. Corbin is a Professor and Director of Clinical Training within the Department of Psychology at ASU. His research is well funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and focuses on understanding factors that contribute to the development of alcohol related problems in adolescents and young adults. Using both survey and lab based studies, Dr. Corbin’s work is designed to provide new insights into the etiology of alcohol use and abuse. This work directly informs the development and evaluation of prevention and intervention approaches targeting alcohol-related problems. Dr. Corbin recently completed work on a randomized clinical trial examining the effects of naltrexone on heavy drinking young adults, and he is actively involved in the development of two novel alcohol prevention programs targeting young adults during the transition from high school to college. Curriculum Vitae.

Lab Staff

Lab Coordinator:  Michelle Quispe
Project Coordinator: Kailey Richner

Current Graduate Students

Kyle Menary, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, ASU Department of Psychology
I am interested in investigating the cognitive, behavioral, and neurobiological risk factors that contribute to the etiology and comorbidity of substance use disorders and internalizing psychopathology.


Anna Papova, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, ASU Department of Psychology
My primary research focus is on measurement development in the area of self-control. I am interested in studying the underlying factors that make up the construct of self-control and their relation to executive cognitive function and life outcomes. I am also interested in the daily fluctuations and severe deficits/excesses in self-control that lead to psychopathology such as substance abuse and sexual violence. My work focuses on developing clearer measures to inform self-control based interventions.


Jessica Hartman, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology, ASU Department of Psychology
My primary research interest is on the influence parents have on substance use during critical developmental time periods (e.g. the transition to college). I hope to understand which parental behaviors confer risk or protect against heavy drinking patterns in their children. I am also interested in prevention efforts aimed to reduce risky alcohol use in adolescence and emerging adulthood, particularly those that target parents.


Current Undergrad Research Assistants

Isabelle Abelev
Alexis Arriaga
Sanjana Kumar
Kailey Richner
Rachael Stottlemyre

Lab Alums - Where are they now?

Former Doctoral Students:

Stephen Boyd, PhD, Portland VA Medical Center
Jessica M. Cronce, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Oregon
Meghan Morean, PhD,  Assistant Professor, Oberlin College
Ashley Gearhardt, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan
Caitlin Scott Gallegos, PhD, New Mexico VA Healthcare System

Former Post-doctoral Fellows:

Ellen Vaughan, PhD, Associate Professor, Indiana University
Derek Iwamoto, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland

Affiliated Faculty

Julie Patock-Peckham, PhD, Assistant Research Professor, ASU Department of Psychology


Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Corbin's research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Corbin's curriculum vitae.  Student co-authors appear with an asterisk*.

In press
Corbin, W. R., Scott, C. J., & Treat, T. A. (in press). Sociosexual Attitudes, Sociosexual Behaviors, and Alcohol Use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Carlson, M., Harden, K.P., Kretsch, N., Corbin, W.R., & Fromme, K. (2015). Interactions between DRD4 and developmentally specific environments in alcohol dependence symptoms: Attempt to replicate Park et al. (2011). Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 1043-1049.

Corbin, W.R., Papova, A., Morean, M.E., O’Malley, S.S., Krishnan-Sarin, S., Abi-Dargham, A., Anticevic, A., Pearlson, G., Petrakis, I., Pittman, B.P., & Krystal, J.H. (2015).  Integrating Acquired Preparedness and Dual Process models of risk for heavy drinking and related problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29, 864-874.

Corbin, W.R., Scott, C.S., Boyd, S.J., Menary, K.R., & Ender, C.K. (2015). Contextual influences on subjective and behavioral response to alcohol. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 23, 59-70.

*Hartman, J.D., Patcok-Peckham, J.A., Corbin, W.R., Gates, J.R., Leeman, R.F., Luk, J.W., & King, K.M. (2015). Direct and indirect links between parenting styles, self-concealment (secrets), impaired control over drinking and alcohol-related outcomes. Addictive Behaviors, 40, 102-108.

*Menary, K.R., Corbin, W.R., Leeman, R.F., Fucito, L.M., Toll, B.A., DeMartini, K., & O’Malley, S.S. (2015). Interactive and indirect effects of anxiety and negative urgency on alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, 1267-1274.

O’Malley, S.S., Corbin, W.R., Leeman, R.F., DeMartini, K.S., Fucito, L.M., Ikomi, J., Romano, D.M., Wu, R., Toll, B.A., Sher, K.J., Gueorguieva, R., & Kranzler, H.R. (2015). Reduction in alcohol drinking in young adults by naltrexone: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of efficacy and safety. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 76, e207-e213.

*Boyd, S.J., Corbin, W.R., & Fromme, K. (2014). Parental and peer influences on alcohol use during the transition out of college. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 960-968.

Corbin, W.R., Zalewski, S., Leeman, R.F., Toll, B.A., Fucito, L.M., & O’Malley, S.S. (2014).  In with the old and out with the new? A comparison of the old and new binge drinking standards. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38, 2657-2663.

Iwamoto, D.K., Corbin, W.R., Takamatsu, S., & Castellanos, J. (2014). College men and alcohol use: Positive alcohol expectancies as a mediator between distinct masculine norms and alcohol use. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15, 29-39.

*Scott, C.S., & Corbin, W.R. (2014). Influence of sensation seeking on response to alcohol versus placebo: Implications for the Acquired Preparedness Model. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75, 136-144.

*Morean, M.E., Corbin, W.R., & Treat, T.A. (2013). The Subjective Effects of Alcohol Scale: Development and psychometric evaluation of a novel assessment tool for measuring subjective response to alcohol. Psychological Assessment, 25, 780-795.


News & more!

In collaboration with Drs. Tom Dishion, Leah Doane, Thao Ha and the Office of Educational Outreach and Student Services, we recently launched a new parent-based prevention program, ASSIST-C, to facilitate successful transitions into college for new freshmen.

Dr. Corbin was appointed as a standing member of the Addictions Risk and Mechanisms Study Section of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The BARCA lab presented a symposium titled “Positive and Negative Urgency Predict Craving and Subjective Response in a Placebo-Controlled Alcohol Challenge” at the 39th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting in June 2016 (abstract).

Kyle Menary submitted a proposal to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a National Research Service Award (NRSA). The application was successfully funded, and the project will run through September of 2018. The study aims to understand the nature of relations among anxiety symptoms, physiological response to alcohol (specifically, changes in salivary cortisol levels in response to alcohol) and subjective response to alcohol.

Caitlin Scott Gallegos graduated with her PhD in May 2016 and started a position with the New Mexico VA Healthcare System.

Anna Papova defended her Master’s project titled “Self-Control Motivation and Capacity Scale: A New Measure of Multiple Facets of Self-Control” in March 2016. This project aimed to develop a new survey measure of self-control that is able to distinguish between multiple subfacets. She received her M.A. in May 2016 and is currently preparing the measure and manuscript for publication.

Undergrad RA Angela Harrid presented her poster “Sober Resting Heart Rate as a Risk Factor for Alcohol Induced Heart Rate Increases and Stimulation” at the Collaborative Perspectives on Addictions conference in March 2016.

Dr. Corbin was promoted to Professor and appointed to the Board of Directors of both the Research Society on Alcoholism and the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology.

Several research assistants in the BARCA lab have been accepted into graduate programs in the past few years including Jonathan Gates, Raquel Craney, Kyle Jackson, Ben Berey, Thai Ong, and Alex Ladensack.