Merve Mollaahmetoglu

I completed a first class BSc in Psychology at the University of Exeter and an MSc with distinction in Clinical Mental Health Sciences at University College London. I have experience of working with individuals with mental health and substance use disorders in a secondary mental health care setting. I am currently a third year PhD student within the Psychopharmacology and Addiction Research Centre at the University of Exeter. My PhD research focuses on the role of ruminative thinking in initiating and maintaining alcohol use disorders and exploring rumination as a target of psychological and pharmacological treatment approaches. My research projects to date include examining the impact of acute alcohol consumption on rumination in the laboratory and in naturalistic settings among hazardous drinking populations, and using experience sampling methods to investigate the relationship between daily ruminative thinking and subsequent craving and alcohol consumption in hazardous drinkers and those with alcohol use disorders. I am also interested in research exploring the use of ketamine for the treatment of substance use disorders, and I have recently completed a systematic review on this.

Momentary fluctuations in rumination and their temporal association with craving, alcohol consumption and alcohol related consequences

Background: Considering the significant burden associated with alcohol use disorders and the limited number of effective treatments, there is a clear need for research on factors contributing to the onset and maintenance of, and relapse to alcohol use disorders. A trait that may represent a risk factor and a potential treatment target is a repetitive negative thinking style called rumination. Rumination has been found to increase craving for alcohol and predict harmful drinking and alcohol related problems (Devynck et al., 2019). However, research to date focuses on a dispositional ruminative response style rather than dynamic momentary changes in rumination.

Methods: In the current study, we aimed to examine daily within-person fluctuations in rumination and their temporal relationship to craving, alcohol consumption and alcohol related problems using experience sampling methodology in a population with alcohol use disorders (n=46) and hazardous drinkers (N=88). Participants reported their mood, rumination, craving, alcohol consumption, and alcohol related consequences at random moments during the day for 14 consecutive days using a smartphone app.

Results & Discussion: We employed a linear mixed effects models to take into account the nested structure of the data. The results in the alcohol use disorder sample will be presented here. Rumination was positively associated with subsequent craving as predicted, and it interacted with craving to exert an influence on alcohol consumption. The implications of these results regarding the role of rumination in alcohol use disorders will be discussed.

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