There are a limited number of studies that have examined gender differences in the neurocognitive test performances of alcohol-dependent individuals. Those that have been conducted reported that compared with men, women's visuospatial skills, psychomotor speed, and working memory are more profoundly affected by chronic alcohol abuse despite a shorter duration of drinking and a lesser quantity of alcohol consumed.
The performances of Russian male and female alcoholic and nonalcoholic control subjects were compared on a series of neurocognitive tasks that assess motor speed, visuoperceptual processing, visuospatial processing, decision making, and cognitive flexibility.
Group and gender differences emerged on specific components of each task administered. Female compared with male alcoholic subjects exhibited poorer performances on tests of visual working memory, spatial planning and problem solving, and cognitive flexibility.
The data support and extend prior research demonstrating a more deleterious impact of alcohol dependence on female alcoholic subjects' cognitive functioning compared with male alcoholic subjects. Several theories are offered to account for gender differences in neurocognitive performance.