Risky Decision-Making in Adults with Alcohol Use Disorder: A Systematic and Meta-Analytic Review

A.D. Ariesen, Julia Neubert, Geraldina Gaastra, Oliver Tucha, Janneke Koerts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) forms a major health concern and is the most common substance use disorder worldwide. The behavioural and cognitive deficits associated with AUD have often been related to impairments in risky decision-making. The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and type of risky decision-making deficits of adults with AUD, as well as to explore the potential mechanisms behind these deficits. To this end, existing literature comparing risky decision-making task performance of an AUD group to a control group (CG) was systematically searched and analysed. A meta-analysis was performed to address overall effects. In total, 56 studies were included. In the majority of studies (i.e., 68%), the performance of the AUD group(s) deviated from the CG(s) on one or more of the adopted tasks, which was confirmed by a small to medium pooled effect size (Hedges’ g = 0.45). This review therefore provides evidence of increased risk taking in adults with AUD as compared to CGs. The increased risk taking may be due to deficits in affective and deliberative decision-making. Making use of ecologically valid tasks, future research should investigate whether risky decision-making deficits predate and/or are consequential to the addiction of adults with AUD.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2943
Number of pages60
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18-Apr-2023


  • alcohol use disorder
  • addiction
  • adults
  • risky decision-making
  • performance-based tasks


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