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Binge Drinking Among College Students

Binge Drinking Among College Students
People addicted to alcohol and young adults who are heavy drinkers, but not considered alcoholics, have something in common: they possess poor decision-making skills, as per psychology experts at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The findings are based on research examining binge drinking and heavy alcohol use among college students.

The study was led by Anna E. Goudriaan, a former postdoctoral student in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychological Sciences, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). She collaborated with Emily R. Grekin and Kenneth J. Sher of MUs Midwest Alcoholism Research Center. Grekin, a former MU research assistant, is now an assistant professor at Wayne State University. Sher is a Curators professor of clinical psychology at MU.

The team of scientists examined 200 participants during a four-year period by incorporating the Iowa Gambling Test (IGT) into the analysis. The IGT is a test of decision making strategy and measures peoples tendency to make immediate (disadvantageous) or long-term (advantageous) choices. The MU students were between the ages of 18 and 22. The initial alcohol use analysis was conducted when the students were freshmen and continued until their junior years in college. Scientists obtained information about the age they began drinking and their frequency of heaving drinking.

Based on drinking habits, the participants were grouped into four categories: low binge drinkers, stable/moderate binge drinkers, increasing binge drinkers and stable/high binge drinkers. Participants completed online surveys each semester detailing their drinking habits. Three years into the study, the scientists administered the IGT, a computer card game, to gauge risky decision making and impulsivity among the participants. By selecting cards, the goal of the game is to win as much money possible. Certain types of card selections are advantageous and result in monetary gain, while others are disadvantageous and result in monetary loss.

Findings indicated those in the stable/high alcohol use category, who had longer histories of binge drinking, made riskier and less advantageous choices, which reflect problems linked to planning for the future, Goudriaan said.

In addition, only students who started binge drinking when they were younger showed impairment on the task.

"There is reason to believe that heavy binge drinking during adolescence, when the brain is still rapidly developing, may have some negative legacy on psychological development," Sher said. "The interesting thing is that if we were to just look at binge drinkers and how impaired they are in the decision making process as juniors, we'd really be obscuring the important issue, which is how long they've been binge drinkers and/or how early they started".


Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
People addicted to alcohol and young adults who are heavy drinkers, but not considered alcoholics, have something in common: they possess poor decision-making skills, as per psychology experts at the University of Missouri-Columbia. The findings are based on research examining binge drinking and heavy alcohol use among college students.

Medicineworld.org: Binge Drinking Among College Students

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