Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-10 (10)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Anxiety, Sedation, and Simulated Driving in Binge Drinkers 
The current study evaluated the relationships among trait anxiety, subjective response to alcohol, and simulated driving following a simulated alcohol binge. Sixty drinkers with a binge history completed the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Alcohol Use Questionnaire, and subsequently completed a driving simulation. Participants were then administered 0.2 g/kg ethanol at 30 minute intervals (cumulative dose 0.8 g/kg). Following alcohol consumption, the Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale (BAES) and visual analog scales of subjective impairment and driving confidence were administered, after which simulated driving was re-assessed. Due to the emphasis on simulated driving after drinking in the current study, subjective response to alcohol (i.e., self-reported sedation, stimulation, impairment, and confidence in driving ability) was assessed once following alcohol consumption, as this is the time when drinkers tend to make decisions regarding legal driving ability. Alcohol increased driving speed, speeding tickets, and collisions. Sedation following alcohol predicted increased subjective impairment and decreased driving confidence. Subjective impairment was not predicted by sensitivity to stimulation or trait anxiety. High trait anxiety predicted low driving confidence after drinking and this relationship was mediated by sedation. Increased speed after alcohol was predicted by sedation, but not by trait anxiety or stimulation. Anxiety, combined with the sedating effects of alcohol, may indicate when consumption should cease. However, once driving is initiated, sensitivity to sedation following alcohol consumption is positively related to simulated driving speed.
PMCID: PMC4170799  PMID: 24955664
alcohol drinking; simulated driving; anxiety; biphasic alcohol effects
2.  Breath Alcohol Estimation Training: Behavioral Effects and Predictors of Success 
Aims: Breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) estimation training has been effective in increasing estimation accuracy in social drinkers. Predictors of estimation accuracy may identify populations to target for training, yet potential predictors typically are not evaluated. In addition, the therapeutic efficacy of estimation training as a preventive strategy for problematic drinking is unknown. Methods: Forty-six social drinkers with a recent binge history were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group (n = 23 per group). In each of three sessions (pretraining, training, testing), participants consumed alcohol (0.32, 0.24, 0.16 and 0.08 g/kg, in random order) every 30 min (total dose: 0.8 g/kg). Participants provided five BrAC estimates within 3 h of alcohol administration. The intervention group, but not control group, received internal and external training. During testing, participants provided BrAC estimates, but received no feedback. Participants returned for two follow-up visits to complete self-report measures. Results: BrAC estimation training improved intervention group estimation accuracy within the laboratory. Together, training, low trait anxiety and low risk expectancy predicted high testing accuracy. There were no significant group differences in subsequent alcohol consumption, behavior under the influence or risk expectancy regarding potentially hazardous behaviors. Conclusion: BrAC estimation training is effective in the laboratory but may not translate into naturalistic settings.
PMCID: PMC3685329  PMID: 23695976
3.  Self-Estimation of Blood Alcohol Concentration: A Review 
Addictive behaviors  2012;38(4):1944-1951.
This article reviews the history of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) estimation training, which trains drinkers to discriminate distinct BAC levels and thus avoid excessive alcohol consumption. BAC estimation training typically combines education concerning alcohol metabolism with attention to subjective internal cues associated with specific concentrations. Estimation training was originally conceived as a component of controlled drinking programs. However, dependent drinkers were unsuccessful in BAC estimation, likely due to extreme tolerance. In contrast, moderate drinkers successfully acquired this ability. A subsequent line of research translated laboratory estimation studies to naturalistic settings by studying large samples of drinkers in their preferred drinking environments. Thus far, naturalistic studies have provided mixed results regarding the most effective form of BAC feedback. BAC estimation training is important because it imparts an ability to perceive individualized impairment that may be present below the legal limit for driving. Consequently, the training can be a useful component for moderate drinkers in drunk driving prevention programs.
PMCID: PMC3592207  PMID: 23380489
alcohol drinking; automobile driving; blood alcohol concentration; humans
4.  Impulsivity, Attention, Memory, and Decision-Making among Adolescent Marijuana Users 
Psychopharmacology  2012;226(2):307-319.
Marijuana is a popular drug of abuse among adolescents, and they may be uniquely vulnerable to resulting cognitive and behavioral impairments. Previous studies have found impairments among adolescent marijuana users. However, the majority of this research has examined measures individually rather than multiple domains in a single cohesive analysis. This study used a logistic regression model that combines performance on a range of tasks to identify which measures were most altered among adolescent marijuana users.
The purpose of this research was to determine unique associations between adolescent marijuana user and performances on multiple cognitive and behavioral domains (attention, memory, decision-making, and impulsivity) in 14- to 17-year-olds while simultaneously controlling for performances across the measures to determine which measures most strongly distinguish marijuana users from non-users.
Marijuana-using adolescents (n=45) and controls (n=48) were tested. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to test for: (a) differences between marijuana users and non-users on each measure, (b) associations between marijuana use and each measure after controlling for the other measures, and (c) the degree to which (a) and (b) together elucidated differences among marijuana users and non-users.
Of all the cognitive and behavioral domains tested, impaired short-term recall memory and consequence sensitivity impulsivity were associated with marijuana use after controlling for performances across all measures.
This study extends previous findings by identifying cognitive and behavioral impairments most strongly associated with adolescent marijuana users. These specific deficits are potential targets of intervention for this at-risk population.
PMCID: PMC3581724  PMID: 23138434
Marijuana; Cannabis; Adolescence; Impulsivity; Memory; Attention
5.  Rapid Drinking is Associated with Increases in Driving-Related Risk-Taking 
Human psychopharmacology  2012;27(6):622-625.
The rate of alcohol drinking has been shown to predict impairment on cognitive and behavioral tasks. The current study assessed the influence of speed of alcohol consumption within a laboratory-administered binge on self-reported attitudes toward driving and simulated driving ability.
Forty moderate drinkers (20 female, 20 male) were recruited from the local community via advertisements for individuals who drank alcohol at least once per month. The equivalent of four standard alcohol drinks was consumed at the participant’s desired pace within a two-hour session.
Correlation analyses revealed that, after alcohol drinking, mean simulated driving speed, time in excess of speed limit, collisions, and reported confidence in driving were all associated with rapid alcohol drinking.
Fast drinking may coincide with increased driving confidence due to the extended latency between the conclusion of drinking and the commencement of driving. However, this latency did not reduce alcohol-related driving impairment, as fast drinking was also associated with risky driving.
PMCID: PMC3929598  PMID: 23027650
alcohol drinking; binge drinking; simulated driving; risk-taking
6.  Cognitive, Psychomotor, and Polysomnographic Effects of Trazodone in Primary Insomniacs 
Journal of sleep research  2011;20(4):552-558.
Trazodone is widely prescribed as a sleep aid, although it is indicated for depression, not insomnia. Its daytime cognitive and psychomotor effects have not been systematically investigated in insomniacs. The primary goal of this study was to quantify, in primary insomniacs, the hypnotic efficacy of trazodone and subsequent daytime impairments. Sixteen primary insomniacs (mean age 44 years) participated, with insomnia confirmed by overnight polysomnography (sleep efficiency ≤ 85%). Trazodone 50 mg was administered to participants 30 minutes before bedtime for seven days, in a three-week, within-subjects, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Subjective effects, equilibrium (anterior/posterior body sway), short-term memory, verbal learning, simulated driving, and muscle endurance were assessed the morning after Days 1 and 7 of drug administration. Sleep was evaluated with overnight polysomnography and modified Multiple Sleep Latency Tests (MSLT) on Days 1 and 7. Trazodone produced small but significant impairments of short-term memory, verbal learning, equilibrium, and arm muscle endurance across time points. Relative to placebo across test days, trazodone was associated with fewer nighttime awakenings, minutes of Stage 1 sleep, and self-reports of difficulty sleeping. On Day 7 only, slow wave sleep was greater and objective measures of daytime sleepiness lower with trazodone than with placebo. Although trazodone is efficacious for sleep maintenance difficulties, its associated cognitive and motor impairments may provide a modest caveat to healthcare providers.
PMCID: PMC3165092  PMID: 21623982
trazodone; insomnia; short-term memory; verbal learning; posturography
7.  Failure to Sustain Prepulse Inhibition in Adolescent Marijuana Users 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2010;116(1-3):110-116.
Marijuana use is typically initiated during adolescence, which is a critical period for neural development. Studies have reported reductions in prepulse inhibition (PPI) among adults who use marijuana chronically, although no human studies have been conducted during the critical adolescent period.
This study tested PPI of acoustic startle among adolescents who were either frequent marijuana Users or naïve to the drug (Controls). Adolescents were tested using two intensities of prepulses (70 and 85 dB) combined with a 105 dB startle stimulus, delivered across two testing blocks.
There was a significant interaction of group by block for PPI; marijuana Users experienced a greater decline in the PPI across the testing session than Controls. The change in PPI of response magnitude for Users was predicted by change in urine THC/creatinine after atleast 18 hours of abstinence, the number of joints used during the previous week before testing, as well as self-reported DSM-IV symptoms of marijuana tolerance, and time spent using marijuana rather than participating in other activities.
These outcomes suggest that adolescents who are frequent marijuana users have problems maintaining of prepulse inhibition, possibly due to lower quality of information processing or sustained attention, both of may contribute to maintaining continued marijuana use as well as attrition from marijuana treatment.
PMCID: PMC3091950  PMID: 21196088
prepulse inhibition; acoustic startle response; marijuana; cannabis; human; adolescence
8.  Alcohol Effects on Simulated Driving in Frequent and Infrequent Binge Drinkers 
Human Psychopharmacology  2011;26(3):216-223.
Compared to non-bingers, binge drinkers are more likely to drive while intoxicated. The extent to which binge frequency impacts confidence in driving and subsequent driving impairment is unknown. This study compared the effects of an experimenter-delivered alcohol binge on subjective impairment and simulated driving ability in female High and Low Frequency bingers.
Female drinkers were assigned to High Frequency (n=30) or Low Frequency (n=30) binge groups based on their Alcohol Use Questionnaire responses. At 30-minute intervals within a two-hour period, participants received either a placebo drink (n=15 per group) or a 0.2 g/kg dose of alcohol (n=15 per group; cumulative dose 0.8 g/kg). Self-reported impairment, driving confidence, and simulated driving were then measured.
Self-reported confidence in driving was significantly lower after alcohol than after placebo in Low Frequency but not High Frequency bingers. Self-reported impairment and collisions during simulated driving were significantly greater after alcohol than after placebo in both Low Frequency and High Frequency bingers.
The impairing effects of a single alcohol binge on driving ability in females are not influenced by binge frequency. However, high binge frequency may be associated with a less cautious approach to post-binge driving.
PMCID: PMC3161131  PMID: 21542027
alcohol; automobile driving; binge drinking; subjective effects
9.  Response Inhibition Impairments Predict Alcohol-Induced Sedation 
Aims: The aim of this study was to probe the relationship between the subjective effects of alcohol and impulsive behavior in social drinkers. Methods: Fifty social drinkers performed a response-inhibition task before consuming alcohol. A 0.8-g/kg dose of alcohol was administered in a binge-like fashion (0.2 g/kg every 30 min) to the participants over a 2-h time period. Participants then completed questionnaires measuring stimulation, sedation and mood following consumption of alcohol. Linear regression analyses were performed by examining the relationship between performance on the response inhibition impulsivity task and subjective responses to alcohol (i.e. stimulation, sedation and arousal). Results: There was a significant positive relationship found between impulsive responding and self-reported sedation following alcohol consumption. Additionally, there was a significant negative relationship between behavioral impulsivity and self-reported stimulation and arousal following alcohol consumption. Conclusion: These results suggest that higher levels of impulsivity are associated with experiencing greater sedating than stimulating effects of alcohol. Individuals with high levels of impulsivity may be less sensitive to the stimulating effects of a specified dose of alcohol, which could lead to these individuals consuming more alcohol to experience the stimulating effects of alcohol.
PMCID: PMC3002846  PMID: 21127353
10.  Teenagers don’t always lie: Characteristics and correspondence of telephone and in-person reports of adolescent drug use 
Drug and alcohol dependence  2007;90(2-3):288-291.
Because of the widespread use of drugs by adolescents, there is demand for scientific rigor in sampling and accuracy in methods for ascertaining drug use patterns. The present study (1) characterized adolescents who responded to advertisements for marijuana users; (2) compared rates of drug use reported on the telephone versus an on-site interview; and (3) examined drug use patterns as a function of parental awareness of drug use. Adolescents identifying themselves as marijuana users during telephone interviews reported more use of other drugs than those denying marijuana use. There was a high degree of correspondence between telephone and on-site interviews for all drugs except alcohol, which was reported at a higher rate on-site. Of those reporting marijuana use in the past week, 69% tested positive for marijuana in their urine-drug screens. Finally, marijuana and alcohol use patterns were higher among adolescents whose parents were aware of drug use than those whose parents indicated that their adolescent did not use marijuana. These results indicate that adolescents are willing to self-identify as marijuana users and report drug and alcohol use during telephone interviews. Additionally, parents appear to become more aware of their adolescent’s drug use with increased frequency of use.
PMCID: PMC2413171  PMID: 17475417
Marijuana; Drugs; Adolescents; Parents; Self-Report; Assessment

Results 1-10 (10)