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Risky decisions in a lottery task are associated with an increase of cocaine use


Wittwer, Amrei; Hulka, Lea M; Heinimann, Hans R; Vonmoos, Matthias; Quednow, Boris B (2016). Risky decisions in a lottery task are associated with an increase of cocaine use. Frontiers in Psychology, 7:640.

Abstract

Cocaine use disorder is associated with maladaptive decision-making behavior, which strongly contributes to the harmful consequences of chronic drug use. Prior research has shown that cocaine users exhibit impaired neuropsychological test performances, particularly with regard to attention, learning, and memory but also in executive functions such as decision-making and impulse control. However, to what extent cocaine users show impaired decision-making under risk without feedback has not yet been investigated systematically. Therefore, to examine risk-taking behavior, 31 chronic cocaine users and 26 stimulant-naïve healthy controls who were part of the Zurich Cocaine Cognition Study, performed the Randomized Lottery Task (RALT) with winning lotteries consisting of an uncertain and a certain prospect. Results revealed that risky decisions were associated with male sex, increased cocaine use in the past year, higher cocaine concentrations in the hair, and younger age. In addition, higher levels of cocaine in the hair and cumulative lifetime consumption were associated with risky decisions, whereas potentially confounding factors including cognition and psychiatric symptoms had no significant effect. Taken together, our results indicate that cocaine users who increased their consumption over a period of 1 year show deficits in the processing of risky information accompanied with increased risk-taking. Future research should analyse whether risky decisions could potentially serve as a prognostic marker for cocaine use disorder.

Abstract

Cocaine use disorder is associated with maladaptive decision-making behavior, which strongly contributes to the harmful consequences of chronic drug use. Prior research has shown that cocaine users exhibit impaired neuropsychological test performances, particularly with regard to attention, learning, and memory but also in executive functions such as decision-making and impulse control. However, to what extent cocaine users show impaired decision-making under risk without feedback has not yet been investigated systematically. Therefore, to examine risk-taking behavior, 31 chronic cocaine users and 26 stimulant-naïve healthy controls who were part of the Zurich Cocaine Cognition Study, performed the Randomized Lottery Task (RALT) with winning lotteries consisting of an uncertain and a certain prospect. Results revealed that risky decisions were associated with male sex, increased cocaine use in the past year, higher cocaine concentrations in the hair, and younger age. In addition, higher levels of cocaine in the hair and cumulative lifetime consumption were associated with risky decisions, whereas potentially confounding factors including cognition and psychiatric symptoms had no significant effect. Taken together, our results indicate that cocaine users who increased their consumption over a period of 1 year show deficits in the processing of risky information accompanied with increased risk-taking. Future research should analyse whether risky decisions could potentially serve as a prognostic marker for cocaine use disorder.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:German
Date:2016
Deposited On:26 Jan 2017 14:37
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 18:57
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00640
PubMed ID:27242574

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