Scientific article

The contribution of executive functions deficits to impaired episodic memory in individuals with alcoholism

Published inPsychiatry research, vol. 198, no. 1, p. 116-122
Publication date2012

Individuals with alcoholism commonly exhibit impaired performance on episodic memory tasks. However, the contribution of their impaired executive functioning to poor episodic memory remains to be clarified. Thirty-six recently detoxified and sober asymptomatic alcoholic men and 36 matched non-alcoholic participants were tested for processing speed, prepotent response inhibition, mental flexibility, coordination of dual-task and a verbal episodic memory task. Compared with non-alcoholic individuals, the alcoholic patients showed impaired executive functions combined with below normal performance on both free and delayed recall. In contrast, processing speed, cued recall and recognition were preserved. Regression analyses revealed that 47% of alcoholics' episodic memory's free recall performance was predicted by mental flexibility and that 49% of their delayed recall performance was predicted by mental flexibility, manipulation of dual-task and prepotent response inhibition. Regarding participants' executive predictors of episodic memory performance, the slopes of β coefficients were significantly different between the two groups, with alcoholics requiring more their executive system than non-alcoholics. Once detoxified, alcoholic patients showed episodic memory deficits mainly characterized by impaired effortful (executive) processes. Compared with controls, patients used effortful learning strategies, which are nonetheless less efficient.

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism/complications
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cognition Disorders/etiology
  • Executive Function/physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inhibition (Psychology)
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders/complications/etiology
  • Memory, Episodic
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Regression Analysis
  • Verbal Learning
Citation (ISO format)
NOËL, Xavier et al. The contribution of executive functions deficits to impaired episodic memory in individuals with alcoholism. In: Psychiatry research, 2012, vol. 198, n° 1, p. 116–122. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2011.10.007
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1872-7123

Technical informations

Creation08/14/2013 2:51:00 PM
First validation08/14/2013 2:51:00 PM
Update time03/14/2023 8:23:34 PM
Status update03/14/2023 8:23:34 PM
Last indexation10/18/2023 4:39:17 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack