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Neurocognitive, psychological and behavioral correlates of binge drinking and use of alcohol with caffeinated beverages in college-aged adults

Neurocognitive, psychological and behavioral correlates of binge drinking and use of alcohol with caffeinated beverages in college-aged adults

Authors: 
Watson, T.D. Sweeney, J.F. & Louis, H.
Year: 
2013
Journal: 
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Abstract: 

Background: We examined event-related potential (ERP), behavioral and psychological correlates of binge drinking and the use of alcohol mixed with caffeinated beverages (AmCBs) in college-aged (18–26 years) adults. 

Objective: Our objective was to delineate the neurocognitive correlates of different patterns of risky alcohol use in this population. 

Methods: We collected ERP data while an initial sample of 60 participants completed visual oddball and go/no-go tasks. We also collected self-report data measuring levels of sensation seeking, impulsivity, and drinking-induced disinhibition. In our primary analyses between binge drinker (N = 17) and comparison participants (N = 29), we used analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to control for monthly marijuana usage and excluded participants who reported using other illicit drugs. As separate, exploratory analyses, we compared participants who reported using AmCBs (n = 14) and those who did not (n = 46), co-varying for monthly marijuana and recreational drug use. 

Results: We found that binge drinkers and AmCB users reported significantly higher levels of sensation seeking and drinking-induced disinhibition. In addition, we found that binge drinkers exhibited greater P3a/b amplitudes in the oddball task. In contrast, AmCB users exhibited significantly attenuated P3a amplitudes to distracter stimuli in the oddball task. However, we found no statistically significant differences in the amplitudes of P2(00) or N2(00) components between binge drinkers and comparison participants or between AmCB users and nonusers. 

Conclusions: Overall, these data suggest that binge drinking and AmCB use are associated with P3 alterations, but the specific effects may differ for individuals with different patterns of risky alcohol use.

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