Binge Drinking’s Cognitive and Emotional Correlates: A Multi-Definitional Investigation
Braun, Ashley R.
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Binge drinking is associated with physical, social, and emotional consequences, rendering it a serious public health concern. The highest rates of binge drinking are consistently found to be among young adults, ages 18 – 26. This age range also coincides with a time, developmentally, that the frontal lobe is not yet fully developed, and thus highly vulnerable to changes. Because the frontal lobe is responsible for executive functioning, it seems then, that binge drinking and executive functioning may be related, especially among this young adult cohort. Other aspects too, such as alcohol expectancies and mood have been found to be related to alcohol use, and binge drinking specifically. Complicating the picture further, is the fact that there is no clear, universal definition of binge drinking in the literature, which inherently leads to researchers using different definitions of this phenomenon. Therefore, the present study had two main, overarching aims. First, we set out to investigate the cognitive and emotional correlates of binge drinking among young adults. Our second aim was to further examine commonly used definitions of binge drinking in the literature. Results indicated that different definitions of binge drinking yielded different results, and that executive function was only related to binge drinking when using one definition of binge drinking. Using a different definition, positive alcohol expectancies was found to be highly related to binge drinking. Complete results are discussed in greater detail. These mixed results lend themselves to future research directions, which are discussed.