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Prospective memory and future event simulation in individuals with alcohol dependence

Griffiths, A; (2011) Prospective memory and future event simulation in individuals with alcohol dependence. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This major research project focuses on the possible influence that chronic substance use may have on prospective memory (PM) ability. Part one consists of a literature review examining the associations between recreational substance use and impairments in PM. This identifies 24 studies from 23 publications examining PM ability in recreational substance users. Although PM impairments are reported by most, the review highlights a number of methodological weaknesses in the existing body of research. These include an over-reliance on self report PM measures, the use of inadequate objective assessments, and limitations in internal and external validity. Suggestions are made for how methodological limitations may be overcome in future work. Part two is an empirical paper which describes a study that aimed to overcome the limitations highlighted in part one. This compared the performance of an alcohol dependent group to that of an age and premorbid ability matched control group, on an objective PM measure called the Virtual Week. It was found that the event based PM performance of alcohol dependents was strongly associated with indices of both alcohol usage and severity of alcohol dependence, and significantly impaired compared to that of controls. Furthermore, an imagining technique improved controls’ time based PM, but did not improve alcohol dependents’ PM. These findings are discussed in terms of the relevance of strategy application to successful PM functioning, and the implications this may hold for clinical practice. Part three consists of a critical appraisal of the research process, which explains why various methodological choices were made and how particular challenges were overcome as they arose. Certain conceptual issues are also reflected upon and their relevance to future research discussed.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Prospective memory and future event simulation in individuals with alcohol dependence
Language:English
Additional information:Copyright restricted material has been removed from the e-thesis. Thesis in two volumes: volume 2 is restricted

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