Internalizing Problems, Motivation, Peers and Development of Adolescent Drug Use

This project will study the role of internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety and depression) and social context (e.g. peers, parents) on the development of substance use in adolescents.

Risk for substance use (SU) builds cumulatively and sequentially over the course of adolescence, and understanding SU in late adolescence requires a characterization of the early adolescent risk context. Behavior problems in early adolescence set the stage for poor adaptation and increased risk for SU with incentive salience and effortful regulation playing an important role in escalation of SU. The etiological role of internalizing problems (e.g., anxiety and depression), though potentially significant, is poorly understood. Moreover, social context (e.g. peers, parents) is a strong influence on adolescent SU, and changes dramatically from early to late adolescence. This is a continuation of a study of SU in a community sample initially assessed at ages 11-13 years. The proposed project will follow the sample into late adolescence for three additional multi-method assessments (mean ages 18, 19, and 20 years) to evaluate continuity and discontinuity in individual and environmental risk over these years. The project will examine: 1) The changing role of internalizing problems with age and stage of use; 2. Key mediators (motives for SU and peer affiliations) and moderators (peer norms, parent-adolescent relationship quality) of the effects of internalizing; 3) Reciprocal associations between incentive salience, effortful regulation, internalizing symptoms, and SU.

Principal Investigators
Craig R. Colder, PhD
Department of Psychology

Funding Agency
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Grant Number