Lower Cortisol Activity is Associated with First-Time Driving while Impaired.

TitleLower Cortisol Activity is Associated with First-Time Driving while Impaired.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCouture S, Ouimet MClaude, Gianoulakis C, Tremblay J, Kin NNg Ying, Brochu S, Pruessner J, Dedovic K, Brown TG
JournalSubst Abuse
Volume9
Pagination25-32
Date Published2015
ISSN1178-2218
Abstract

Driving while impaired (DWI) is a grave and persistent high-risk behavior. Previous work demonstrated that DWI recidivists had attenuated cortisol reactivity compared to non-DWI drivers. This suggests that cortisol is a neurobiological marker of high-risk driving. The present study tested the hypothesis that this initial finding would extend to first-time DWI (fDWI) offenders compared to non-DWI drivers. Male fDWI offenders (n = 139) and non-DWI drivers (n = 31) were exposed to a stress task, and their salivary cortisol activity (total output and reactivity) was measured. Participants also completed questionnaires on sensation seeking, impulsivity, substance use, and engagement in risky and criminal behaviors. As hypothesized, fDWI offenders, compared to non-DWI drivers, had lower cortisol reactivity; fDWI offenders also showed lower total output. In addition, cortisol activity was the most important predictor of group membership, after accounting for alcohol misuse patterns and consequences and other personality and problem behavior characteristics. The findings indicate that attenuated cortisol activity is an independent factor associated with DWI offending risk at an earlier stage in the DWI trajectory than previously detected.

DOI10.4137/SART.S21353
Alternate JournalSubst Abuse
PubMed ID25922575
PubMed Central IDPMC4384759

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