Cognitive effects of alcohol abuse: awareness by students and practicing speech-language pathologists
The purpose of this study was to compare the perceptions of three groups about the effects of alcohol abuse and binge drinking trends as a whole: students enrolled in a Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) program, speech-language pathologists (SLP) who are practicing in the schools, and practicing speech-language pathologists with an identified special interest/proficiency in neurologically-based communication disorders, including traumatic brain injury. Two surveys containing questions about the cognitive effects of alcohol abuse, as well as basic demographic information, were developed and administered using Survey Monkey. CSD students from Wichita State University, members of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Group 2 (SIG 2; Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders), and members of ASHA Special Interest Group 16 (SIG 16; School- Based Issues) received and responded to the survey. A total of 119 participants responded to the surveys. Responses from 37 students, 57 SLPs from SIG 2, and 25 SLPs from SIG 16 revealed no statistically significant differences between the three groups. However, an overall trend of poor awareness about alcohol abuse and binge drinking was demonstrated among all of the participants. Because of the lack of awareness of each group of participants, education and further research is necessary. Professionals must be educated in order to inform students. SLPs and students must both become educated to provide evidence-based practice to individuals experiencing the cognitive effects of alcohol abuse.