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Common and differential associations between levels of alcohol drinking, gender-specific neurobehaviors and mental distress in college students

Abstract

Background Binge drinking is associated with poor academic behaviors and performance. Excessive alcohol drinking induces molecular changes and neurobehaviors that support use of other substances and alter cognitive functions. The purpose of this study was to compare neurobehaviors and academic effort among college students with low alcohol use with those of high alcohol consumption and build conceptual models that represent the integration of the different variables. Method College students from several U.S colleges were assessed through an anonymous online survey for alcohol use, academic performance, lifestyle factors and mental distress. Results Our results depicted common neurobehaviors and differential responses to high alcohol use. Conclusion The common responses in young men and women with high alcohol use are reflective of a hyperactive limbic system. The different responses involve cognitive aptitudes, typically controlled by cortical regions and affected by levels of brain connectivity known to be dissimilar between men and women.

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