Verbal and nonverbal abstracting--problem-solving abilities and familial alcoholism in female alcoholics.J Stud Alcohol. 1988 May; 49(3):281-7.JS
Women alcoholics (N = 54) had significantly worse performance on clusters of verbal and nonverbal abstracting - problem-solving tasks than peer nonalcoholic controls (N = 48). On the nonverbal cluster, alcoholic women with an alcoholic parent or sibling (FH+) performed significantly poorer than peer alcoholics without such a family history (FH-) and nonalcoholic FH+ and FH- groups. On the verbal cluster, FH+ alcoholics performed significantly worse than the nonalcoholic groups. FH- alcoholics did not differ significantly from the nonalcoholic groups on either of the clusters. There were no differences between FH+ and FH- nonalcoholics on the two types of tasks. The results suggest that female alcoholics have a generalized deficit on cognitive tasks involving abstracting and problem-solving, and that these deficits tend to be more pronounced in alcoholic women with a positive family history of alcohol abuse. Whether these deficits are due to a premorbid lowering of abstracting - problem-solving abilities in the FH+ individuals who subsequently become alcoholics, or are the result of a selective vulnerability of these cognitive processes to the effects of alcohol abuse in such subjects, or some combination of these factors, remains to be investigated.