SALIVARY CORTISOL: A PREDICTOR OF CONVICTIONS FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL?


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Abstract

AimsTo examine the relationship between salivary cortisol and frequency of past driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) convictions.MethodsA total of 104 males with previous DUI convictions (from one to eight) and mean age of 44.7 years were assessed on measures characterizing repeat DUI offenders, including sociodemographic information, alcohol use behaviours, biological indices of the organic consequences of chronic abuse, negative consequences of excessive drinking, past DUI conviction history, impulse control, and antisocial behaviour tendencies. Saliva samples were taken approximately every 30 min over a 6 h period during an exhaustive multidimensional assessment protocol, and were then assayed to obtain cortisol responses.ResultsBlunted cortisol response, typically observed in alcoholics and in high-risk non-alcoholics, was associated with increased number of past DUI convictions. This association was particularly pronounced in multiple DUI offenders, and was stronger than, and independent of, other measures of alcohol use severity and chronicity commonly used for DUI assessment.ConclusionsCortisol response may be useful in understanding the mediators underlying repeat DUI offending and the frequent failure of intervention efforts in curbing DUI behaviour.

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