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Alcohol Alcohol. 2009 Nov-Dec;44(6):586-93. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agp051. Epub 2009 Sep 28.

Gender differences in alcohol impairment of simulated driving performance and driving-related skills.

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1
Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-044, USA.

Abstract

AIMS:

Considerable laboratory research indicates that moderate doses of alcohol impair a broad range of skilled activities related to driving performance in young adults. Although laboratory studies show that the intensity of impairment is generally dependent on the blood alcohol concentration, some reviews of this literature suggest that women might be more sensitive to the impairing effects of alcohol than men. The present study tested this hypothesis.

METHODS:

Drawing on data from previous experiments in our laboratory, we compared men and women in terms of the degree to which a challenge dose of alcohol (0.65 g/kg) impaired their simulated driving performance and measures of three separate behavioral and cognitive functions important to driving performance: motor coordination, speed of information processing and information-processing capacity.

RESULTS:

Alcohol significantly impaired all aspects of performance. Moreover, women displayed greater impairment than men on all behavioral tests and also reported higher levels of subjective intoxication compared with men.

CONCLUSIONS:

Both biological and social-cultural factors have been implicated in gender differences in the behavioral responses to alcohol. The current evidence of heightened sensitivity to alcohol in women highlights the need for better understanding the biological and environmental factors underlying this gender difference.

PMID:
19786725
PMCID:
PMC2842110
DOI:
10.1093/alcalc/agp051
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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