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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 55 (2013) 9, 677 - 689

Review article

Adolescent binge drinking: neurocognitive consequences and gender differences

L. Amrani, L. De Backer, G. Dom


background Binge drinking by adolescents and young adults is on the increase and is having serious medical and social consequences. Over the last ten years more and more research has been done into the neurocognitive effects of binge drinking and into the possibility that these effects are gender-specific. However, so far, findings have been inconsistent.
aim To collect evidence for the negative impact of binge drinking on the neurocognitive functioning of adolescents and young adults and to find out whether binge drinking has a more serious effect on neurocognition in females than in males.
method We searched the literature using PubMed and Web of Science.
results Nineteen studies satisfied our selection criteria. Eleven studies examined the binge/gender interaction.
conclusion There is considerable evidence that binge drinking does have a negative effect on neurocognition in adolescents and young adults, particularly with regard to executive functioning and memory. Females seem to be more susceptible than males to deficits in spatial working memory and impulse control.

keywords adolescents, binge drinking, neurocognition, gender, young adults