The effects of binge drinking on college students' next-day academic test-taking performance and mood state

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To assess the effects of binge drinking on students' next-day academic test-taking performance. Design 

A placebo-controlled cross-over design with randomly assigned order of conditions. Participants were randomized to either alcoholic beverage [mean = 0.12 g% breath alcohol concentration (BrAC)] or placebo on the first night and then received the other beverage a week later. The next day, participants were assessed on test-taking, neurocognitive performance and mood state. Participants 

A total of 196 college students (≥21 years) recruited from greater Boston. Setting 

The trial was conducted at the General Clinical Research Center at the Boston Medical Center. Measurements 

The Graduate Record Examinations© (GREs) and a quiz on a lecture presented the previous day measured test-taking performance; the Neurobehavioral Evaluation System (NES3) and the Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) measured neurocognitive performance; and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) measured mood. Findings 

Test-taking performance was not affected on the morning after alcohol administration, but mood state and attention/reaction-time were affected. Conclusion 

Drinking to a level of 0.12 g% BrAC does not affect next-day test-taking performance, but does affect some neurocognitive measures and mood state.

Keywords: Academic performance; binge drinking; intoxication; mood state; neurocognitive performance; students

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, 2: Abt Associates, Cambridge, MA, USA and 3: Youth Alcohol Prevention Center at Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA 4: Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2010



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