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Körner, Natalie; Schmidt, Peggy and Soyka, Michael (2015): Decision making and impulsiveness in abstinent alcohol-dependent people and healthy individuals: a neuropsychological examination. In: Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 10:24 [PDF, 1MB]

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Background: Alcohol dependence is associated with deficits in decision making and increased impulsiveness. Therefore, we compared decision making in abstinent alcohol-dependent people ("abstainers") and matched healthy individuals ("comparison group") to determine whether impulsiveness or personality traits play a role in decision making. Methods: Abstainers (n = 40) were recruited from treatment facilities in and around Munich, Germany, and the comparison group (n = 40) through personal contacts and social media. We assessed decision making with the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT),impulsiveness with the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS-11) and personality traits with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI). Results: The comparison group performed significantly better in the IGT (mean profit (sic) 159.50, SD 977.92) than the abstainers (mean loss - (sic) 1, 400.13, SD 1, 362.10;p < .001) and showed significantly less impulsiveness in the BIS-11 (comparison group: mean 56.03, SD 7.80;abstainers: mean 63.55, SD 11.47;p < .001). None of the five personality traits assessed with the NEO-FFI differed significantly between the groups. Conclusion: The results confirm that abstinent alcohol-dependent people do not perform as well as healthy individuals in decision-making tasks and show greater impulsiveness, but in this study did not affect their decision-making ability.

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