Study examines young adults perceptions of complete and fragmentary blackouts

first_img Source: Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Aug 29 2018Blackouts refer to partial or complete memory loss of events that occur while individuals are drinking. These individuals maintain consciousness during the event and may even be able to engage in complex behaviors such as conversing or driving. This study examined young adults’ perceptions of complete memory loss (“en bloc”) blackouts, and off-and-on memory loss (fragmentary) blackouts.Researchers collected data from two groups of college students with a history of alcohol-induced memory impairment. Data from the first group (n=50; 28 females, 22 males) were qualitative in nature; that is, participants engaged in eight focus groups. Discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and coded by theme. Data from the second group (n=350; 196 females, 154 males) were quantitative in nature; i.e., participants completed an online survey assessing drinking behavior, alcohol-induced memory impairment, and attitudes towards en bloc and fragmentary blackouts.Related StoriesPeople use executive control processes to ignore cues that signal something rewardingRecreational marijuana users tend to drink more alcohol, medicinal users drink lessStudy: One in five university students affected by problematic smartphone useThe young adults in this study were more permissive of fragmentary blackouts, which they called “brownouts,” than en bloc blackouts. The qualitative group believed that blackouts occur along a continuum, with en bloc “blackouts” located at the extreme. The quantitative group reported much higher rates of “brownouts” (81%) than “blackouts” (54%), as well as less negative outcome expectancies and attitudes, greater personal approval, and stronger intentions for “brownouts” than “blackouts.” Compared to men, women perceived a higher prevalence of both blackouts and brownouts than other men and women in college, and also reported lesser intentions to experience “blackouts” themselves. The authors called for more blackout-specific prevention and intervention efforts among young adults.last_img

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