As detailed in PA-11-047 (Women and sex/gender differences in drug and alcohol abuse/dependence), gender differences in the etiology, progression, and consequences of substance use disorders (SUDs) remain incompletely understood. The current proposal focuses on one important aspect of this gap; consequences. More specifically, it is directed to clarifying how men and women may differentially experience the neurobehavioral consequences of alcohol dependence. It is noteworthy that most research directed to neurobehavioral assessments has focused on traditionally defined neurocognitive/ neuropsychological domains. Another compromised component of neurobehavior and a key aspect of successful adaptation, emotional processing, has been examined primarily in a separate literature. To better understand the breadth of neurobehavioral compromise, concurrently assessing neurocognitive and emotional performance in men and women is required. Furthermore, although studies of community samples typically reveal a female advantage on these tasks, gender differences among alcoholics are infrequently addressed. To enhance interpretation and direct future research, it is imperative that this work be conceptually driven. In response to these issues, we propose to assess cognitive and emotional functions in sufficient samples of male and female detoxified alcoholics (n=100, 50 females) and community controls (n=100, 50 females) to address both main and interaction effects. Guiding this work is a conceptual model which directs testable hypotheses, thereby informing future research and providing clinically relevant information concerning the processes underlying alcohol-related neurobehavioral (i.e., cognitive and emotional) impairment.
The effects of alcoholism among women remain understudied. This project addresses this gap in knowledge by comparing treatment-seeking men and women and community controls in both cognitive and emotional processing. The proposed work is guided by a conceptual framework which will enhance the theoretical and clinical relevance of the study.
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