Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The genetic transmission of a pattern of impairments associated with alcoholism has been supported by research literature (Dawson, Harford, & Grant, 1992; Schuckit, 1986). No single factor appears to cause the development of a substance abuse problem, but a family history of alcoholism may be one predictive factor (Goodwin, 1985). The offspring of alcoholics are more likely to display disinhibited behavior and impulsivity (Pihl, Peterson, & Finn, 1990) and are more likely to develop drinking problems than the general population (Goodwin, 1971). Researchers have found patterns of cognitive deficits (Tartar, Jacob, Bremer, 1989) and neuropsychological differences (Gabriella & Mednick, 1983) associated with adult children of alcoholics (ACA) status. Several researchers have questioned if those deficits may be associated with a set of inherited traits which precede alcoholism, rather than be a consequence of alcohol abuse (Knop, Teasdale, Schulsinger, & Goodwin, 1985). ACAs have also been found to display deficits in learning new material presented in a visual paradigm (Schandler, Cohen, & Antick, (1992). This study addressed the relationship between ACA status, cognitive inhibition, impulsivity, and visuospatial learning in ACAs. It was proposed that groups of male and female ACAs, as compared to control groups of male and female nonACAs, would exhibit heightened impulsivity and specific deficits in cognitive inhibition, as measured by tests purported to find differences between groups in these domains.

Included in

Psychology Commons