U of M Professor Receives $1M to Study Alcoholism in Young Adults


A professor at the University of Memphis received a $1 million grant to study predictors of alcohol abuse in young adults, the university announced today.

The grant from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism will allow professor James Murphy, also director of clinical training in the university's psychology department, to examine the behavioral economic predictors of developing alcohol misuse in adults ages 21 to 24.

Murphy says the overall goal of the study is to learn about how alcohol use progresses as young adults develop.

He says young adults report higher drinking rates than any other age group. However, this is a temporary stage for many, which he says does not affect their ability to transition to adult roles, like keeping a full-time job or starting a family.

"For others, heavy or binge drinking during young adulthood leads to significant health and social problems and sets the stage for a developmentally persistent pattern of alcohol misuse," he said.

Murphy says the 5-year study will recruit 700 young adults from the Memphis area in order to learn more about how the ability to value and work toward a future goal, as well as the ability to experience reward from non-alcohol related activities correspond to changes in drinking habits over time.

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