Two main issues were addressed in this thesis. First, can specific subtypes of drinkers be identified by their neuropsychological performance and second, which variables will predict the neuropsychological performance of drinkers? Two secondary issues related to memory in problem drinkers and memory testing was also addressed.
Three pilot studies were carried out comparing the performance of social drinkers with problem drinkers on selected memory tests to decide which to include in the test battery. There were 88 subjects in the main study ranging from social drinkers through to problem drinkers with Organic Brain Damage. The final test battery included the Adult Memory and Information Processing Battery (Coughlan & Hollows 1985), Recency Discrimination and Recognition Tasks adapted from Milner (1981), Block Design subtest from the WAIS (Wechsler 1975) and measures of premorbid IQ. Measures of personality and subjective mood state were also included. Details of drinking, medical, and psychiatric history were obtained and a 5ml clotted sample was drawn from each subject to obtain indicators of liver functioning and mineral status.
Factor analysis was carried out on the neuropsychological variables to reduce the data and to examine the construct validity of the memory tests. Seven clusters were identified using hierarchical regression. These clusters mapped successfully onto the multivariate endstate model proposed in the thesis. Age, sex, education, binge drinking, units consumed on a heavy day, employment status, neuroticism and stress differentiated between clusters.
Independent t-tests and regressions showed age and IQ to be the best overall predictors of neuropsychological performance. Other important variables were gender, binge drinking, nutritional status and stress. Alcohol consumption variables did not significantly predict performance. Memory findings were discussed in relation to the cortical-diencephalic hypothesis (Wilkinson, 1987) and the adequacy of clinical memory assessment was also discussed.
|Item Type:||Thesis (PhD)|
|Keywords:||alcohol dependence, cognition, learning, and memory, Ireland, memory, neuropsychology (field)|
|Notes:||This thesis is held only in Queens University Belfast library|
|Accession Number:||HRB 3639 (Not in collection)|
|Subjects:||F Concepts in psychology > Cognition|
G Health and disease > Drugs and alcohol disorder > Alcohol use > Alcohol dependence
F Concepts in psychology > Learning
F Concepts in psychology > Skills > Coping skills
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