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Binge drinking, cognitive performance and mood in a population of young social drinkers

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 18:31 authored by Julia M Townshend, Dora Duka
Background: Binge drinking may lead to brain damage and have implications for the development of alcohol dependence. The aims of the present study were to determine individual characteristics as well as to compare mood states and cognitive function between binge and nonbinge drinkers and thus further validate the new tool used to identify these populations among social drinkers. Methods: The lowest and the highest 33.3% from a database of 245 social drinkers' binge scores derived from the Alcohol Use Questionnaire (AUQ) were used as cutoff points to identify nonbinge drinkers and binge drinkers in a further population of 100 young healthy volunteers. Personality characteristics, expectations of the effects of alcohol and current mood were evaluated. Cognitive performance was tested with a Matching to Sample Visual Search task (MTS) and a Spatial Working Memory task (SWM) both from the CANTAB battery, and a Vigilance task from the Gordon Diagnostic System. Results: The binge drinkers had less positive mood than the nonbinge drinkers. In the MTS choice time on an 8-pattern condition and movement time on an 8- and 4-pattern condition was found to be faster in the binge drinkers compared to nonbinge drinkers. A gender by binge drinking interaction in the SWM and the Gordon Diagnostic System task revealed that female binge drinkers were worse on both these tasks than the female nonbinge drinkers. Conclusions: These results confirm previous findings in binge drinkers and suggest that in a nondependent alcohol-drinking group, differences can be seen in mood and cognitive performance between those that binge drink and those that do not.


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  • Published


Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research









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  • Psychology Publications

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