Social Cognition and Alcohol Related Brain Damage

Prof Doc Thesis

Hill, J. 2018. Social Cognition and Alcohol Related Brain Damage. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsHill, J.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Introduction: Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) is caused by chronic alcohol misuse and can result in profound neuropsychological impairments. Despite the increasing incidences of ARBD in the UK, it remains underdiagnosed and often managed inappropriately. Literature on social cognition in alcohol use disorders is emerging, yet study of this domain specifically in ARBD populations is still in its very early stages. The aim of this study was to explore whether there are social cognition problems in the ARBD population and, if so, whether this would be a useful addition to the routine neuropsychological assessment of ARBD.
Method: Sixteen individuals (mean age = 56.44 years) were recruited from a specialist ARBD step-down unit. Participants completed a battery of neuropsychological tests including three measures of social cognition (tests of mentalisation, affect recognition, and a self-report empathy questionnaire). Scores were analysed against normative data and a case series analysis was utilised for descriptive analysis.
Results: Individual and group level analyses suggested that individuals with ARBD present with impairments of higher-level mental inferences and social competence, but did not show impairments in low-level, perceptual tasks – specifically in affect recognition.
Conclusions: These findings should be utilised as a platform for further research to help improve understanding and treatment of ARBD. Future research should focus on assessing more subtle deficits of mentalisation and social competence to explore the impairments identified in the present study. While understanding of the relationship between social cognition and ARBD continues to develop, these findings indicate further investigation could lead to significant improvements to treatment provided, and ultimately to the quality of life of people affected by ARBD.

KeywordsARBD; alcohol related brain damage; social cognition
PublisherUniversity of East London
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PrintMay 2018
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Deposited09 Dec 2019
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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