A Pilot Study of Memory Impairment Associated with Discrepancies between Retrospective and Daily Recall of Alcohol Consumption

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Prior studies have found discrepancies between daily report and retrospective recall of alcohol use. One possible explanation is that there may be an association between memory impairment and alcohol consumption recall errors. Should this possibility be substantiated it could have implications for the types of assessments conducted in alcohol treatment trials. The current study evaluated the degree to which memory impairment, as measured by the California Verbal Learning Test–II, predicted day-to-day discrepancies between daily Interactive Voice Response monitoring and retrospective recall of alcohol use assessed with a 42-day version of the Form-90. Significant differences were detected in absolute difference in days drinking across the two measurement methods between participants scoring above and below population means on two measures of immediate memory ability. Correlations between the absolute difference in days drinking and immediate memory ability and long-delay memory indices approached significance. There were no significant associations between memory indices and discrepancies in reports of standard drink units. These preliminary results suggest that verbal memory difficulties common in this population may result in inaccurate reports of days drinking for some individuals

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