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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Roseann J. Hannon

First Committee Member

Kenneth L. Beauchamp

Second Committee Member

Roger Yates [?]


The present study investigated the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning in women and men college students, and examined the relationship between alcohol intake and sober mood state. Current consumption levels were calculated from a drinking history questionnaire as well as by daily self-monitoring and the data analyzed to determine if the two data collection measures were comparable. Pearson correlation coefficients showed the two measures of frequency of drinking significantly correlated for both the men and women. However, quantity consumed per occasion (QPO) as measured by the questionnaire was not significantly correlated to QPO as measured by self-monitoring for either the women or the men. Student's t-tests revealed significant differences with both men and women rating QPO higher when measured by the questionnaire. For the women, frequency of drinking was significantly lower with the questionnaire. This same trend was noted for the men, although it was not significant. No relationship was found between alcohol consumption and cognitive performance or sober mood state in this group of social drinkers.

Awareness of the dangers and the misuse of alcohol are at an all time high. One only need turn on the television or radio to hear messages designed to question our use of this "mind altering drug." Programs to "cure" alcohol dependence are advertised. Announcements designed to reduce the occurrence of drinking and driving are aired with pointed messages, e.g., "Friends don't let friends drive drunk." Even more specifically targeted are warnings aimed at high school and college-aged social drinkers: "If you don't drink and drive on grad night it won't KILL you." As education of the public increases, researchers are questioning not only the acute effects of alcohol but also possible "carryover effects" on sober social drinkers. We are well acquainted with the idea of skid-row alcoholics who have lost everything, including their memory. That long term drinking is associated with cognitive deficits is not surprising, but is there a relationship between cognitive deficits and social drinking in young adults? To address this question, neuroradiological and neuropsychological research on alcoholics and mature social drinkers is first reviewed. Previous research on college-aged social drinkers is examined, problems with prior research on college student social drinkers are identified, and the present study is outlined.



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