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Prospective memory and future event simulation in individuals with alcohol dependence

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To assess objectively prospective memory (PM) performance of individuals with alcohol dependence and determine whether the use of an imagery technique at the point of encoding can enhance their performance.

An independent group design was used to compare individuals with alcohol dependence with social drinkers.

One UK residential substance misuse service.

Twenty‐four abstinent ‘individuals with alcohol dependence’ and 24 social drinkers matched on age, gender and years of education.

The virtual week (VW); story recall; a category fluency task; trail‐making test (TMT); a single digit cancellation task (SDCT); spot‐the‐word; State–Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI); Beck Depression Inventory (BDIII); and the Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire (SADQ)

Event‐based PM task performance of individuals with alcohol dependence was associated strongly with indices of alcohol usage (P < 0.001), and was impaired significantly compared to that of social drinkers (P < 0.001). Imagining improved social drinkers' time‐based PM but not that of individuals with alcohol dependence.

Individuals with alcohol dependence may experience prospective memory deficits which may be due to difficulties with effective strategy application.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.03941.x

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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