Efectos neuropsicológicos del consumo de drogas legales en jóvenes universitarias

  1. Merchán Clavellino, Ana
Supervised by:
  1. José Ramón Alameda Bailén Director
  2. Bruno Ribeiro do Couto Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 21 July 2014

  1. José María Martínez Selva Chair
  2. Javier García Orza Secretary
  3. José Miguel Mestre Navas Committee member

Type: Thesis


Considering the problem of legal and illegal drug use, women, especially younger women, are a group of emerging risk in the last decades. Substances with higher prevalence are legal drugs (alcohol and cigarettes -or tobacco-), but a pattern of combined consumption or poly-consumption is growing. Different scientific evidences provide data on the neuropsychological effects of the use of legal drugs, but studies focused on young women and the combined effects of alcohol and cigarettes are scarce. Therefore we firstly aim to explore the use of various legal and illegal drugs in university students, and to know the sex differences and the consumption pattern. After that, our main objective was to identify possible cognitive deficits in these students due to alcohol or its combination with cigarettes. Finally we determined the personality characteristics and behavior related to these patterns. Data collection was organized in a first pilot or "screening" study, using a 40-item online questionnaire requesting information on demographic data and consumption. Subsequently, we selected women aged between 18 and 25 years who achieved the criteria proposed for our three comparison groups: control group, alcohol group, nicotine group (alcohol + cigarettes), and a neuropsychological battery was applied. From the results analyzed we can conclude: ! There is a high prevalence in the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes compared to illegal substances, and these are drugs usually combined. Men show more frequency and quantity of consumption than women, although women have their first experience with drugs earlier than men. In addition, the poly-consumption involves a higher frequency, greater quantity and an earlier experience of alcohol and cannabis consumption. ! Women who combine both substances have worst results in semantic verbal fluency and alternating attention, and those who consume only alcohol have a greater loss of verbal information and worst results in visuospatial working memory. Non-consumers women have a higher prevalence of possible schizoid personality disorder. In addition, women who combine both alcohol and cigarettes, but not women who consume only alcohol, are more impulsive and more susceptible to monotony generating more changes, and perceive a poorer quality of sleep, which also can be related to more complaints about the subjective quality of their health.