Bad Decisions, Heavy Drinking Go Hand in Hand

Researchers say that young adults who drink heavily tend to make more bad decisions than lighter drinkers, but a new study could not determine whether one caused the other, Reuters reported May 25.

Researcher Anna E. Goudriaan and colleagues at the University of Missouri at Columbia used a tool called the Iowa Gambling Task to assess the decisionmaking skills of a group of 200 male and female college students. The test consists of a computerized card game involving multiple choices and strategies.

The study authors found that participants categorized as chronic high binge drinkers performed worse on the test than those classified as low- or moderate-level binge drinkers. The earlier in life the students had started binge drinking, the worse they performed on the test, researchers said.

“Although a causal link has yet to be established, our findings indicate that binge drinking at a younger age and prolonged binge drinking are associated with worse decision making,” they noted.

The study appears in the June 2007 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

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