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Journal Article


Brown TG, Ouimet MC, Nadeau L, Gianoulakis C, Lepage M, Tremblay J, Dongier M. Drug Alcohol Rev. 2009; 28(4): 406-418.


Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


(Copyright © 2009, John Wiley and Sons)






ISSUES: Driving while impaired by alcohol (DWI) is responsible for substantial mortality and injury. Significant gaps in our understanding of DWI re-offending, or recidivism, reduce our ability to practically assess recidivism probability and to match interventions to individual risk profiles. These shortcomings reflect the baffling heterogeneity in the DWI population and the limited focus of much existing DWI recidivism research to psychosocial, psychological and substance use correlates. APPROACH: This narrative review summarises the evidence for the contribution of neurocognitive and psychobiological mechanisms to DWI behaviour and recidivism. Given the nascent nature of this literature, insight into the putative contribution of these mechanisms to DWI is also drawn from other experimental literatures, particularly those on alcohol use disorders and cognitive and behavioural neuroscience. KEY FINDINGS: Alcohol-related neurotoxicity and dysregulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and serotonergic systems may underlie certain offender characteristics consistently correlated with heightened DWI risk, persistence and intervention resistance. Their markers are less vulnerable to sources of bias than subjective psychosocial indices and are more far-reaching than alcohol abuse in explaining DWI behaviour and recidivism. Implications. The investigation of neurocognitive and psychobiological mechanisms in DWI research is a promising avenue for discerning clinically meaningful subgroups within the DWI population. This can lead to research and development in alternative assessment and more targeted intervention technologies. CONCLUSION: Multidimensional research in DWI and recidivism offers novel avenues for increasing road safety.

Language: en


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