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Impulsivity levels help identify at-risk offspring of alcoholics

Date:
August 26, 2016
Source:
Research Society on Alcoholism
Summary:
Researchers know that youth with a family history of alcoholism have a greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder; this heightened vulnerability may be due to impulsive behavior. For this study, researchers examined “waiting” impulsivity – a tendency toward prematurely responding to a reward, and previously associated with a predisposition to drinking. The study sample comprised young, moderate-to-heavy social drinkers who were either positive (FHP) or negative (FHN) for a family history of alcoholism. Impulsivity was assessed after an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.
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Researchers know that youth with a family history of alcoholism have a greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder; this heightened vulnerability may be due to impulsive behavior. For this study, researchers examined "waiting" impulsivity -- a tendency toward prematurely responding to a reward, and previously associated with a predisposition to drinking. The study sample comprised young, moderate-to-heavy social drinkers who were either positive (FHP) or negative (FHN) for a family history of alcoholism. Impulsivity was assessed after an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink.

Two groups of young male and female social drinkers (34 women, 30 men; 18-33 years old) were given alcohol (0.8g/kg) or a placebo. The FHP group (n= 24) had first-degree relatives with problems of alcohol misuse; the FHN group (n=40) did not. Participants completed four variants of the Five-Choice Serial Reaction Time task, which measures waiting impulsivity. Other types of impulsive behavior were also tested, using the Stop Signal Reaction Time, Information Sampling Task, Delay Discounting Questionnaire, Two-Choice Impulsivity Paradigm, and Time Estimation.

The FHP drinkers showed higher waiting impulsivity levels than FHN drinkers when tested for attentional load. However, the FHP group showed less impulsive behavior on the Information Sampling Task. All participants showed alcohol-impaired inhibitory control on the Stop Signal Reaction Time test. In summary, assessing exaggerated waiting impulsivity may help identify those offspring of alcoholics who are at risk for developing alcohol addiction.


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Materials provided by Research Society on Alcoholism. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sandra Sanchez-Roige, David N. Stephens, Theodora Duka. Heightened Impulsivity: Associated with Family History of Alcohol Misuse, and a Consequence of Alcohol Intake. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/acer.13184

Cite This Page:

Research Society on Alcoholism. "Impulsivity levels help identify at-risk offspring of alcoholics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160826183453.htm>.
Research Society on Alcoholism. (2016, August 26). Impulsivity levels help identify at-risk offspring of alcoholics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160826183453.htm
Research Society on Alcoholism. "Impulsivity levels help identify at-risk offspring of alcoholics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160826183453.htm (accessed May 24, 2017).

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