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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.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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 1-5 (5)