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.
-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.”