Aspects of alcohol use disorder affecting social cognition as assessed using the Mini Social and Emotional Assessment (mini-SEA)

Sharon Cox, Maxime Bertoux, John J.D. Turner, Antony Moss, Kirsty Locker, Kevin Riggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is associated with problems with processing complex social scenarios. Little is known about the relationship between distinct AUD-related factors (e.g., years of problematic drinking), aspects of cognitive function and dysfunction in individuals diagnosed with AUD, and the relative impact these may have on social cognition.

Aims: To explore differences in social cognition between a group of participants diagnosed with AUD and controls, using a clinical measure, the Mini Social and Emotional Assessment (mini-SEA). The mini-SEA was used to evaluate social and emotional understanding through a facial emotional recognition task and by utilising a series of social scenes some of which contain a faux pas (social error).

Methods: Eighty-four participants (individuals with AUD and controls) completed demographic and a general cognitive and social cognitive test battery over three consecutive days.

Results: Between group analyses revealed that the participants with AUD performed less well on the faux pas test, and differences were also revealed in the emotional facial recognition task. Years of problematic alcohol consumption was the strongest predictor of poor ToM reasoning.

Conclusion: These results suggest a strong link between AUD chronicity and social cognition, though the direction of this relationship needs further elucidation. This may be of clinical relevance to abstinence and relapse management, as basic social cognitive skills and ability to maintain interpersonal relationships are likely to be crucial to recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-170
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Alcohol Dependence
  • Addiction
  • Social Processing
  • Emotion Perception
  • Social Cognition

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