Trinity students participate in alcohol study

According to an article in the Trinity Tripod, findings from the Brain and Alcohol Research with College Students Project (BARCS) were presented last week. The BARCS project, a collaborative study by researchers at Trinity College, the Institute of Living in Hartford, and Central Connecticut State University (CCSU,) is in its third year of a five year study.

Quick facts:

-the study has tested 477 First-year students at Trinity and 1,550 at CCSU, all between 18 and 25-years-old                                            

-the students are tested on impulsivity, cognition, problem solving, mood, and drinking patterns

-each student undergoes a lab test at the outset, subsequently they complete monthly questionnaires about their drinking behavior until their Junior year when they go back to the lab for tests

Conclusions thus far:

-young adults who binge drink tend to perform worse in academic atmospheres than normal, but only within the first year of college

-the more impulsive a student is, the “more prone he or she is to having an alcohol use disorder and the more likely he or she is to come from a family with a history of alcoholism.”

-excessive drinking is associated with poor attention, learning, and memory functions (when sober)

-female students are more likely to binge drink than male students,

-practice of binge drinking is especially detrimental to spatial learning and cognitive functions.

For tests of cognition, the study tested 296 college students on a variety of cognitive functions.

 “those who binged demonstrated significantly higher levels of both depression and anxiety; those who drank but did not binge demonstrated the greatest impulsivity; and those who binged in the past 30 days made significantly more errors on what’s called the Groton Maze Learning Test, which provides a valid measure of spatial working memory.”

Photo Credit Elodie Reed, Amherst

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