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Effects of regular alcohol intake and stress on mental performance, mood and cardiovascular function

Smith, Andrew Paul ORCID:, Whitney, Helen, Thomas, Marie Ann, Perry, Kate and Brockman, Pip 1995. Effects of regular alcohol intake and stress on mental performance, mood and cardiovascular function. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental 10 (5) , pp. 423-431. 10.1002/hup.470100508

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An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of alcohol consumption and stress on mood, mental performance and cardiovascular function. One hundred and six young adults (mean age 21.2 years) took part in the study. The results showed that alcohol consumption and stress interact to influence performance but not mood. Different effects were obtained depending on whether one examined the total number of units consumed per week or the frequency of drinking alcohol, but in both cases the effects were selective, being found only with certain stress measures and in some aspects of performance. The pattern of results was, however, consistent enough to suggest that these were not chance effects. The number of alcohol units consumed and degree of negative affect in the last week interacted reliably in analyses of the memory tasks. High scores on both were associated with improved performance (relative to low scores on both), whereas a high score on one but not the other was associated with impaired performance. Two types of effect could be distinguished in these interactions: the first, found in the working memory tasks, reflected the personality differences in the various groups; the other, seen in the episodic memory tasks, was present even when personality and gender were statistically controlled. Frequency of alcohol usage and frequency of negative life events were found to interact in the simple reaction time data, with frequent drinkers who had experienced a large number of negative life events having the slowest reaction times.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: alcohol; stress; performance; mood; cardiovascular function
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0885-6222
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 08:54

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