Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The Michigan Neuropsychological Battery (Smith, 1975) was administered to 14 to 17-year-old alcoholics from an inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment center within 7 days of their last drink, and again after 28-33 days of abstinence (a = 26). Comparisons were made between this group and an adolescent alcoholic group who did not abstain and was not receiving treatment for their alcohol abuse (n = 15). The non-abstaining group was also given the same test battery twice. Results indicated that subjects who abstained from drinking (experimental group) performed better than subjects who did not abstain (control group) on measures of motor abilities and long-term visual memory (Purdue Pegboard Preferred Hand, Purdue Pegboard Non-Preferred Hand, Wechsler Memory Scale Visual Delayed Recall). Performance of subjects who did not abstain was impaired on tests which have been shown to be the most sensitive in detecting cerebral dysfunction (Coding, Symbol Digit Modalities Test Written, and Symbol Digit Modalities Test Oral). Contrary to prediction, subjects who did not abstain from drinking performed better than subjects who abstained on a measure of short-term visual memory (Wechsler Memory Scale Visual Immediate Recall). On an abstraction measure in which long term adult alcoholics showed consistent impairment (Raven Progressive Matrices), adolescent alcoholic’s performance was in the low average range for both abstainers and non-abstainers. However, adolescent alcoholics who had been drinking for the three-to-eight-years duration performed better than the adolescents who had been drinking for one-to-three-years duration.

Descriptive data revealed that age, socio-economic status, and time elapsed since last drink did not affect the subject's performance on neuropsychological tests Performance was affected by subject’s duration of drinking history and co-existing diagnoses.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access