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The Role of Impulsivity, Anger, Verbal Ability, and Abstract Reasoning in Emerging Adults’ Treatment Outcomes

Journal: Journal of Addiction & Prevention (Vol.1, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ; ; ;

Page : 01-05

Keywords : Alcohol; Motivational interviewing; Verbal ability; Anger; Impulsivity;

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Across the lifespan, emerging adults (age 18-25) have the highest rates of hazardous drinking, with as many as 71% using alcohol, 49% engaging in binge drinking (4+ drinks per episode/females, and 5+ drinks per episode/males; [1], and 31% meeting criteria for alcohol use disorders [2]. While these rates are alarming, they are not a new trend; the rates of hazardous drinking among this age group have maintained historical consistency throughout the past five decades [3,4]. In contrast with older adults’ drinking patterns, emerging adult drinking does not tend to cause harm through consistent, steady rates of excess. Rather, emerging adult problem drinking frequently manifests itself as “dumb drinking” [5], single occasions of excessive consumption that lead to sadly irrevocable outcomes, such as the accidents, injuries, and fatalities that may result from drinking and driving. Moreover, emerging drinking not only affects the drinker, but often the entire community, resulting in increased levels of property damage, sexual assault, and interpersonal victimization [6]. Similar to adolescents [e.g., 7], emerging adults do not tend to be treatment-seeking. Rather, despite the prevalence of alcohol use disorders in this age group, few emerging adults receive needed interventions [8]. The rare receipt of treatment persists despite the generally positive outcomes observed for emerging adults across brief interventions, particularly those that permit youths’ ambivalence around changing their behavior (e.g., motivational interviewing; MI; [9,10]). While MI shows promise for this age group, the small (d=0.16) to medium (d=0.67) effect sizes found across MI (e.g., [11]) indicate the need to explore potential contributing individual difference factors, in order to guide and improve treatment effectiveness.

Last modified: 2015-06-23 16:01:22