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"Alcohol use disorders and cognitive abilities in young adulthood"
Alcohol use disorders and cognitive abilities in young adulthood
Andres Cisneros
Reviews of collegiate drinking practices consistently have noted the high prevalence of persistent alcohol use and abuse on college campuses. Nearly half of all college students engage in gbingeh drinking. (four or more for women and five or more for men), and about one in five report frequent binge drinking (H. Wechsler et al., 1994). Such heavy consumption patterns are associated with poor academic performance, reflecting lower course grades, being placed on academic probation, and spending fewer hours studying, as well as health problems (H. Wechsler et al., 1994).

Some research suggests that excessive exposure to alcohol is related to cognitive test performance deficits, even for such relatively high-functioning subpopulations as college undergraduates. Parsons and Nixon (1993) noted that impaired performance has been observed across varied cognitive skills involving perceptual-motor, visuospatial, problem-solving, and learning abilities.

The current study represented as an attempt to address two classes of hypotheses regarding the effects of cognitive abilities in a college-aged sample. First, alcohol abuse during the college years may result in specific performance deficits for those abilities associated with a college education (e.g., critical thinking reflecting judgment, and formal operations), because alcohol involvement reduces optimal engagement in the in the tasks and activities that promote the development of higher cognitive functions. Second, AUDs during this time may result in deficits on more neuropsychological measures, particularly visuospatial ability, because of the direct, neurotoxic effects of alcohol. In addition the researchers hypothesized that AUDs during the college years may result in smaller gains in cognitive development as a function of baseline performance.


The participant for this experiment were drawn from an ongoing, prospective study of offspring of alcoholic that began in the 1987-1988 academic year, when the participants were 3,156 freshmen at a large midwestern university. They were screened for the presence of family history of alcoholism with...

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