Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Mark R. McMinn
Cognitive impairment is a well-established consequence of long-term substance abuse, with stimulant and polysubstance abuse leading to the most detrimental deficits, especially in the area of executive function. The extent of brain function recovery with long-term abstinence from substance use is less understood. Is cognitive impairment permanent after longstanding abstinence, or does near full recovery occur? The current study assessed working memory function and attention differences between addicts reporting long-term abstinence and individuals reporting no history of substance use. Volunteers were recruited from both Narcotics Anonymous meetings and the community; addicts reporting long-term abstinence and individuals reporting no substance abuse history. The Test of Premorbid Functioning (Advanced Clinical Solutions for the WAIS) was used to predict working memory scores. Predicted scores were then compared to actual working memory scores from the working memory subtests scores WAIS. No differences were found between groups for working memory scores. Attention was assessed using the Stroop Color and Word Test in conjunction with the Nonverbal Stroop Card Sort Test. No differences in interference or Stroop effect were found between groups. This data suggests that some recovery of executive function may occur with prolonged abstinence from substance use. Implications for future research and clinical work are discussed.
Jasper, Larry E., "Working Memory and Long-Term Abstinence from Substance Use" (2016). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 190.