Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Impulsive alcoholics likely to die sooner

Date:
August 18, 2011
Source:
Center for Advancing Health
Summary:
Alcohol and impulsivity are a dangerous mix: People with current drinking problems and poor impulse control are more likely to die in the next 15 years, a new study suggests. However, they could get by with a little help from their friends: The study also found that a strong social support network buffers the toxic effects of impulsivity.

Alcohol and impulsivity are a dangerous mix: People with current drinking problems and poor impulse control are more likely to die in the next 15 years, a new study suggests. However, they could get by with a little help from their friends: The study also found that a strong social support network buffers the toxic effects of impulsivity.

Related Articles


Alcohol misuse is known to increase the risk of premature death, and impulsivity -- excessive risk-taking, disregard of consequences and poor self-control -- has been shown to affect longevity regardless of drinking habits.

To see whether impulsivity posed a risk for alcohol abusers, the researchers tested 515 people when they first sought help for drinking problems and again one year later, and then the researchers followed them for another 15 years. During this period, 93 individuals died.

Those who had scored high on a measure of impulsivity a year after seeking help for their drinking problems were more likely to die in the years following, and this held true even after researchers took factors like drinking severity and existing physical health problems into account.

Why impulsivity compounds the risk of alcohol misuse was not clear from the study, said lead author Daniel Blonigen, Ph.D., a research health science specialist at the Center for Health Care Evaluation of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The study appears online and in the November issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. . "Based on past research, impulsivity is related to a wide range of health risk behaviors [besides heavy drinking], like smoking, drug use, dangerous driving and risky sexual activities," Blonigen said. Impulsive behavior could also increase exposure to stressful situations, with a negative physiological impact, he said.

On the positive side, the study found that individuals who reported strong supportive relationships with peers and friends to be somewhat protected from the consequences of impulsivity: They were less likely to die than those who lacked that resource.

"What seemed important was the strength of friendship, the degree of trust and the ability to confide," Blonigen said. "The numbers of friends didn't make much difference."

The findings "reaffirm the importance of measuring and emphasizing the social support network in alcohol treatment programs," Blonigen said.

Kenneth Sher, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at University of Missouri, found the moderating effect of peer support on mortality "not surprising… you would expect things like social environment to potentiate or attenuate risk." He added that such influences might cut both ways: "If you're around people who keep you in line it will help; if they themselves are heavily involved in problem behavior, it could have the opposite effect."

Findings such as Blonigen's, he said, support the health value of interventions to reduce impulsivity, both on a population-wide and individual level.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Center for Advancing Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Daniel M. Blonigen, Christine Timko, Bernice S. Moos, Rudolf H. Moos. Impulsivity Is an Independent Predictor of 15-Year Mortality Risk Among Individuals Seeking Help for Alcohol-Related Problems. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01560.x

Cite This Page:

Center for Advancing Health. "Impulsive alcoholics likely to die sooner." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818102025.htm>.
Center for Advancing Health. (2011, August 18). Impulsive alcoholics likely to die sooner. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818102025.htm
Center for Advancing Health. "Impulsive alcoholics likely to die sooner." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110818102025.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins