Neuropsychological Assessment of Decision Making in Alcohol-Dependent Commercial Pilots

This study aimed to discern the utility of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) in identifying adaptive decision-making capacities among pilots with a history of alcohol dependence, both with and without Cluster B personality features. Participants included 18 male airmen at the rank of captain with a history of receiving alcohol dependence treatment and subsequent referral for a fitness-for-duty evaluation. Data from prior comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations conducted in a private practice setting at the mandate of the FAA utilizing criteria outlined in the HIMS program was used. ANOVA was conducted to compare pilots with and without Cluster B personality features on measures of decision-making capacities, intelligence, and executive functioning. Pilots with Cluster B personality features were found to have a significantly lower Total Net T-Score on IGT than pilots without features of Cluster B. Furthermore, with the exception of the first 20 cards (i.e., Net 1); the groups significantly differed in their Net scores. No statistically significant difference was found on airmen’s intelligence and executive functioning. The present study found that alcohol-dependent airmen with Cluster B personality features evidenced significantly poorer decision-making capacities as measured by the IGT in comparison to alcohol dependent airman without Cluster B personality features. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.


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  • Accession Number: 01495038
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 6 2013 11:33AM