Longitudinal study of the neuropsychological consequences of binge drinking in university studentsSix-year follow-up

  1. Carbia Sinde, Carina
Supervised by:
  1. Fernando Cadaveira Mahía Director
  2. Montserrat Corral Varela Co-director

Defence university: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Fecha de defensa: 21 September 2018

  1. Fernando Maestú Unturbe Chair
  2. Marina Rodríguez Álvarez Secretary
  3. Adriana Da Conceiçao Soares Sampaio Committee member
  1. Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychobiology

Type: Thesis


Binge drinking (BD) is a pattern of alcohol consumption characterized by an intake of large amounts of alcohol concentrated in a short period of time. BD peaks during the early twenties followed by a progressive decline. The scientific evidence has revealed the neurocognitive consequences that this type of consumption has in the maturing brain, which is particularly vulnerable to the effects of BD. However, there are hardly any longitudinal studies that allow to determine the cumulative effects of the maintenance of this consumption or the possible recovery once the BD pattern has been abandoned. To address this objective, the present thesis evaluated the neuropsychological performance in working memory, verbal episodic memory and decision making in university students during a six-year period (18 /19 - 24/ 25). The results showed that a stable BD trajectory was associated with difficulties in working memory (poor span and perseverative errors) and verbal episodic memory (poor immediate and delayed recall), while decision making does not seem to be affected. Both sexes had a similar performance. With the exception of poor span in working memory, which seems to show some improvement, cognitive deficits present a stable course. The abandonment of the pattern was associated with an improvement in cognitive performance. There seem to be short-term improvements for executive difficulties, while difficulties in episodic memory -especially regarding consolidation processes- seem to require a longer time without a BD consumption to show improvement. The results are consistent with the special vulnerability of the frontal and temporomedial region to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol during this period of significant neuromadurational changes.