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Socio-cognitive functioning in stimulant polysubstance users


Kroll, Sara L; Wunderli, Michael D; Vonmoos, Matthias; Hulka, Lea M; Preller, Katrin H; Bosch, Oliver G; Baumgartner, Markus R; Quednow, Boris B (2018). Socio-cognitive functioning in stimulant polysubstance users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 190:94-103.

Abstract

Background: Using more than one psychotropic substance is accompanied by increased risks for psychiatric and physical disorders. Accordingly, deficits in basal cognitive functions have been consistently associated with polysubstance use (PSU), whereas little is known about potential impairments in more complex socio-cognitive skills, which are relevant for daily-life functioning. Therefore, we investigated the effects of toxicological validated stimulant PSU on social cognition under consideration of potential cumulative effects. Methods: We compared socio-cognitive performances of 47 individuals with stimulant PSU with 59 matched stimulant-naïve controls using the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET) and the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC). Additionally, social network size was assessed by the Social Network Questionnaire (SNQ). Hair and urine testing was employed to categorize three PSU subgroups (3, 4, and ≥5 substances used) and to ensure drug abstinence in controls. Results: Individuals with stimulant PSU showed lower emotional empathy (MET) and a smaller social network (SNQ) compared to controls (both with linear trends for increasing number of used substances: p <.05). In contrast, cognitive empathy (MET and MASC) was largely unaffected by PSU. Additional linear regression analyses within PSU individuals revealed number of used substances as the best predictor for inferior performance in emotional empathy (p <.01), while severity of the use of single substances or substance-classes did not show a significant impact. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate cumulative adverse effects of stimulant PSU on an important facet of socio-cognitive functioning. Therefore, emotional empathy deficits should be targeted in future interventions and rehabilitations for individuals with PSU.

Abstract

Background: Using more than one psychotropic substance is accompanied by increased risks for psychiatric and physical disorders. Accordingly, deficits in basal cognitive functions have been consistently associated with polysubstance use (PSU), whereas little is known about potential impairments in more complex socio-cognitive skills, which are relevant for daily-life functioning. Therefore, we investigated the effects of toxicological validated stimulant PSU on social cognition under consideration of potential cumulative effects. Methods: We compared socio-cognitive performances of 47 individuals with stimulant PSU with 59 matched stimulant-naïve controls using the Multifaceted Empathy Test (MET) and the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC). Additionally, social network size was assessed by the Social Network Questionnaire (SNQ). Hair and urine testing was employed to categorize three PSU subgroups (3, 4, and ≥5 substances used) and to ensure drug abstinence in controls. Results: Individuals with stimulant PSU showed lower emotional empathy (MET) and a smaller social network (SNQ) compared to controls (both with linear trends for increasing number of used substances: p <.05). In contrast, cognitive empathy (MET and MASC) was largely unaffected by PSU. Additional linear regression analyses within PSU individuals revealed number of used substances as the best predictor for inferior performance in emotional empathy (p <.01), while severity of the use of single substances or substance-classes did not show a significant impact. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate cumulative adverse effects of stimulant PSU on an important facet of socio-cognitive functioning. Therefore, emotional empathy deficits should be targeted in future interventions and rehabilitations for individuals with PSU.

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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
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Legal Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:340 Law
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Toxicology, Pharmacology (medical), Pharmacology, Psychiatry and Mental health Doktoratpsych erstautor
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:19 Jul 2018 09:37
Last Modified:17 Feb 2019 06:50
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0376-8716
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.06.001
PubMed ID:30005311
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID105319_162639/1
  • : Project TitleThe effect of psychosocial and craving-induced stress on social cognition and decision-making in cocaine users: a longitudinal approach
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P1_123516/1
  • : Project TitleNeurosocial consequences of cocaine use: a longitudinal investigation
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P1_146326/1
  • : Project TitleNeurosocial consequences of cocaine use: a longitudinal investigation

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