To examine whether ‘binge drinking’ (BD) in young adults adversely affects prospective memory (PM). BD was defined as males drinking 8/more units and females 6/more units on at least one session per-week. BDs and non-binge drinkers (NBDs) were compared on self-reported and objective PM.
An existing-groups design compared BDs with NBDs as the independent factor. Scores on the PM and retrospective memory (RM) subscales of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ) and scores on the Cambridge Prospective Memory Task (CAMPROMPT) were the dependent factors. Age, total years spent drinking, time since last drink consumed (hours), mood, strategy-use and pre-morbid IQ were measured as covariates.
Each participant was tested in a laboratory setting.
An opportunity sample of 28 BDs and 28 NBDs were compared.
Self-reported PM and RM lapses were measured using the PRMQ and the CAMPROMPT measured objective PM. Drug use was assessed using a Recreational Drug Use Questionnaire. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale measured mood. The strategy-scale from the Prospective Memory Questionnaire measured strategy use. The National Adult Reading Test measured pre-morbid IQ.
BDs and NBDs did not differ in terms of gender makeup and a series of ANCOVAs (controlling for the covariates) revealed no significant between-groups differences on self-reported PM/RM lapses; but BDs exhibited reduced function on time-based PM, but not event-based PM, when compared with NBDs.
BDs exhibit selective impairments on time-based PM; this deficit is a new finding in terms of the neuropsychological sequelae associated with BD.
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