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Psychol Bull. 2009 Jan;135(1):142-56. doi: 10.1037/a0014414.

Binge drinking in young adults: Data, definitions, and determinants.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, CA, USA.


Binge drinking is an increasingly important topic in alcohol research, but the field lacks empirical cohesion and definitional precision. The present review summarizes findings and viewpoints from the scientific binge-drinking literature. Epidemiological studies quantify the seriousness of alcohol-related problems arising from binge drinking, with a growing incidence reported in college-age men over the last 2 years. Experimental studies have found neurocognitive deficits for frontal lobe processing and working memory operations in binge-drinking compared with nonbinge alcohol drinkers. The findings are organized with the goals of providing a useful binge-drinking definition in the context of the empirical results. Theoretical implications are discussed on how binge drinking may alter neurophysiological and neurocognitive function.

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