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Friday, May 21, 2010

Does binge drinking in teenagers affect their everyday prospective memory?

To examine whether teenage binge drinking has an adverse effect upon everyday prospective memory (PM).

The study utilised an existing-groups design, with alcohol group: binge drinkers vs non-binge drinkers as the independent factor, and scores on the two PM memory subscales of the Prospective and Retrospective Memory Questionnaire (PRMQ) and the score on the Prospective Remembering Video Procedure (PRVP) as the dependent factors. Age, anxiety and depression scores, last alcohol use (in hours) and how many years spent drinking, were measured and analysed between the groups.

Each participant was tested in a laboratory setting.

An opportunity sample of 21 ‘binge drinkers’ (those drinking above 6 units for females and 8 units for males on 2 or more occasions per week) and 29 non-bingers were compared.

Self-reported everyday PM lapses were measured using the PRMQ. The PRVP was used as an objective measure of PM. Alcohol and other drug use were assessed by the University of East London Recreational Drug Use Questionnaire. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale gauged self-reported levels of anxiety and depression.

After controlling for age, anxiety and depression scores, last alcohol use and how many years spent drinking, there were no significant between-group differences on either the self-reported long-term or short-term PM lapses. However, binge drinkers recalled significantly fewer location-action combinations on the PRVP than non-binge drinkers.

The results of the present study suggest that binge drinking in the teenage years leads to impairments in everyday PM.

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