Publications by authors named "Nathaniel Riggs"

65 Publications

Moderated Mediation of the eCHECKUP TO GO College Student Cannabis Use Intervention.

Subst Use Misuse 2021 Jun 14:1-8. Epub 2021 Jun 14.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

Cannabis use rates are rising among college students, creating a need for effective and accessible intervention options. One such intervention, the Marijuana eCHECKUP TO GO (eCTG) program, has relatively few studies investigating mechanisms of change and related outcomes. This intervention provides users with personalized normative feedback to adjust user's normative perceptions and use patterns. The current study tested moderated mediation of program effects between the eCTG intervention condition and a healthy stress management (HSM) control condition in a college student sample of near-daily cannabis users. Protective behavioral strategies (PBS) were measured among the eCTG condition Data were analyzed from a sample of 227 students who were randomly assigned to the eCTG intervention condition or HSM control condition. Change in cannabis use frequency was measured by re-administering the baseline survey at a six-week follow-up. Multi-group moderated mediation path analysis tested the effects of the eCTG intervention on change in cannabis use frequency through PBS, descriptive norms, and injunctive norms, with multi-group categories defined by sex. Direct effects indicated the intervention predicted reduced descriptive norm perceptions and cannabis use frequency. An indirect effect was found for the intervention condition on reducing cannabis use frequency through change in descriptive norms in males. Similarly, an indirect effect was seen for intervention condition on reducing cannabis use frequency through change in injunctive norms for females. Findings suggest changes in descriptive norms played a sex-specific mediating role in the mechanisms of change for the eCTG intervention on reductions in cannabis use frequency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2021.1937225DOI Listing
June 2021

Mechanisms of change in an adapted marijuana e-CHECKUP TO GO intervention on decreased college student cannabis use.

J Subst Abuse Treat 2021 05 26;124:108308. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, United States of America.

The objective of this study was to test indirect effects of the Marijuana e-CHECKUP TO GO program on college students' frequent marijuana use through decreased use in specific social and academic activities. This study randomly assigned college students who reported frequent marijuana use (i.e., approximately five times per week) in fall 2016 to receive Marijuana e-CHECKUP TO GO or healthy stress management (HSM) strategies. The final baseline sample included 298 participants. Path analyses tested direct program effects on marijuana use at six-week posttest, as well as the indirect effect via use within four activities frequently participated in by college students: socializing, being physically active, studying, and being in class. Direct Marijuana e-CHECKUP TO GO effects on reductions in frequent use were transmitted by decreased marijuana use while studying and no use while socializing, being physically active, or in class. Marijuana e-CHECKUP TO GO may be most effective at reducing use of marijuana among college students while studying.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108308DOI Listing
May 2021

Executive Function and BMI Trajectories Among Rural, Poor Youth at High Risk for Obesity.

Obesity (Silver Spring) 2021 02 25;29(2):379-387. Epub 2020 Dec 25.

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Objective: The aim of this study was to identify longitudinal trajectories of conjoint development of executive function (EF) and obesity among a diverse sample of poor, rural youth and to evaluate individual differences in infant growth, parental BMI, and cumulative risk.

Methods: Participants included 948 youth from the Family Life Project. Child anthropometrics were measured at 2 and 6 months and at 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 12 years. EF tasks were administered at 3, 4, and 5 years. Mothers reported youth birth weight, parental height and weight, and cumulative risk indicators.

Results: Multidimensional growth mixture modeling identified three classes: "High EF - High Obesity Resilience"; "Low EF - Delayed-Onset Severe Obesity"; and "Low EF - Early-Onset Severe Obesity." Youth in the low-EF, early-onset class displayed higher birth weight and BMI at 6 months, whereas the low-EF, delayed-onset class had rapid weight gain during infancy, parents with class II obesity, and greater cumulative risk and was more likely to be Black and female.

Conclusions: Despite increased obesity risk among this sample, the majority of youth exhibited higher EF and some degree of obesity resilience. Youth with EF deficits displayed the greatest risk for severe obesity but had differing BMI trajectories and obesity risk profiles, which has implications for obesity intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/oby.23064DOI Listing
February 2021

Factors in the perceived stress scale differentially associate with mindfulness disposition and executive function among early adolescents.

J Child Fam Stud 2019 Mar 4;28(3):814-821. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

Objectives: The first aim was to test the factor structure and item-loadings of the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) when administered to early adolescents. The second aim was to examine associations between PSS factors, mindfulness disposition, and executive function.

Methods: We analyzed data collected from 331 students in grade seven ( age=12.4, 48.9% female, 47.1% White, 26.0% Hispanic, 37.8% received free-lunch) classrooms from two ethnically/racially and socio-economically diverse schools. Participants completed paper and pencil self-report measures of stress (PSS), mindfulness disposition (Mindful Awareness Attention Scale, MAAS), and executive function (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, BRIEF). We tested the statistical association between two factors of the PSS: perceived coping and perceived distress with MAAS and BRIEF.

Results: A two-factor model of the PSS, inclusive of perceived coping and perceived distress, fit the data better than a one-dimensional model. MAAS and BRIEF scores were inversely associated with PSS distress scores ( = -.62, <.0001 and = -.66, <.0001, respectively), but not PSS coping scores ( = -.04, = .21 and = -.02, = .57, respectively) in a model adjusted for sex, race, and socio-economic status.

Conclusions: Two factors in the PSS emerged among early adolescents and differentially associated with mindfulness disposition and executive function to similar magnitudes. Findings encourage future assessment of perceived stress in a more refined manner across developmental stages in order to examine trajectories of perceived distress versus perceived coping in relation to mindfulness disposition and executive function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-01313-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6879097PMC
March 2019

Mindful Awareness: Can a Neuro-Developmentally Timed Approach Prevent Youth Substance Misuse.

J Prim Prev 2019 Oct;40(5):493-503

Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 133 Health and Human Development Building, University Park, PA, 16802, USA.

Youth substance use remains a significant public health issue. Although there are numerous evidence-based substance use preventive interventions, room for program improvement remains. Mindfulness practice, due to its feasibility of implementation, capacity to promote neuro-networks associated with delayed substance use initiation and progression to substance use disorders, and efficacy in promoting protective and reducing risk factors associated with substance use, may constitute one strategy for increasing the effectiveness of substance use preventive interventions. However, mindfulness-based approaches to substance use prevention have yet to be systematically tested with youth. In this conceptual paper, we first define mindfulness and its potential, through practice, to strengthen neuro-circuitry associated with substance use disorders. We then review evidence supporting the effectiveness of mindfulness-based preventive interventions to promote protective factors and reduce risk factors known to predict youth substance use. Thus, a case is made for neuro-developmentally timed, mindfulness-based substance use preventive interventions, with the ultimate goal of preventing future substance misuse and associated health consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10935-019-00563-2DOI Listing
October 2019

The effect of sensation seeking on alcohol use among middle school students: a latent state-trait analysis.

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 2020 05 11;46(3):316-324. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California , Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Sensation seeking has been implicated as a major risk factor for underage alcohol use, however little research into this personality trait has been conducted among children.

Objective: The current study examined if sensation seeking presents as a state or trait in children, and if the state or trait predicted future alcohol use.

Methods: A latent state-trait (LST) analysis was conducted among 552 individuals (54.3% female; age range 8-13; mean age 9.3) to determine the state or trait-based aspects of sensation seeking, and if this state or trait predicted future alcohol use. Sensation seeking behavior and lifetime alcohol use were assessed at four time points using two previously validated measures.

Results: Between 49.4% and 95.3% of individual differences in sensation seeking could be attributed to a stable underlying sensation seeking trait. Further, logistic regression of the stable trait of sensation seeking predicted future alcohol use. A one unit increase in the latent trait increased the odds a student would try alcohol by 7.83 times (95% CI = 1.49-41.11, = .015). Standardized regression coefficients revealed that an increase of one standard deviation in the latent trait of sensation seeking increased the odds of experimentation with alcohol by 1.29 times (95% CI = 1.11-1.49, = .001).

Conclusion: Findings suggest sensation seeking presents as a stable trait during childhood, which can cause children to seek out a novel or exciting behaviors such as alcohol use. Future substance use interventions may need to account for the influence of the underlying trait.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2019.1660885DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7064400PMC
May 2020

Executive function and probabilities of engaging in long-term sedentary and high calorie/low nutrition eating behaviors in early adolescence.

Soc Sci Med 2019 09 7;237:112483. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 North Soto, St. Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.

Purpose: Consumption of high calorie/low nutrition (HCLN) foods, as well as high levels of sedentary behavior (SB), may play a substantial role in the development of childhood overweight and obesity. However, the choice to engage or not engage in this behavior may be impacted by limits in executive functioning (EF) - a set of higher order functions related to decision making, planning, and inhibitory processes.

Methods: The present study, as part of a large multiple health risk behavior trial designed to prevent substance use and obesity, evaluated the relationship between specific subdomains of EF and long-term patterns of HCLN food consumption and SB among a population of elementary school students (n = 709).

Results: Utilizing a form of mixture modeling based on a latent transition analysis framework, subdomains of EF were found to influence the probability that students would report high levels of HCLN food consumption and SB over a thirty-month period. Gender and socioeconomic status further influenced the likelihood that students with poor EF would repeatedly engage in these unhealthy behaviors.

Conclusions: HCLN food consumption and SB in childhood can lead to an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. Findings suggest that long term EF training, as well as the creation of environments that support appropriate decision-making, could be an important focus of future health promotion and education.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6711174PMC
September 2019

Association of Cyberbullying Involvement With Subsequent Substance Use Among Adolescents.

J Adolesc Health 2019 11 17;65(5):613-620. Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California; Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Electronic address:

Purpose: Adolescent involvement in cyberbullying is common and involves several roles (witness, perpetrator, or victim). Whether different cyberbullying roles are differentially associated with substance use is unknown. The present study examined the associations of adolescent cyberbullying involvement with use and polyuse of various substances.

Methods: A longitudinal cohort of students in Los Angeles, California (N = 2,768) completed surveys at baseline (10th grade, 2014, mean age = 15.5 years) and 12-month follow-up (11th grade, 2015). Five mutually exclusive cyberbullying roles were identified at baseline-no involvement; witness only; witness and victim; witness and perpetrator; and witness, victim, and perpetrator. Past 6-month use of nine substances and poly-use of multiple substances were assessed at baseline and follow-up.

Results: Most students (52.2%) were involved in >1 cyberbullying roles. Relative to no involvement, all cyberbullying roles, including witnessing only, were associated with increased odds of using most substances and polysubstance use at follow-up, after adjusting for sociodemographics and baseline substance use (odds ratios: 1.44 [95% confidence interval: 1.18-1.76] to 5.24 [2.73-10.05]). Relative to the witness-only role, students involved in all three roles were at greater odds of using several substances at follow-up (odds ratios: 1.47 [95% confidence interval: 1.05-2.05] to 2.96 [1.60-5.50]).

Conclusions: Cyberbullying involvement, even witnessing, may be associated with future substance use in adolescence. All cyberbullying roles warrant consideration in understanding and preventing youth substance use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.05.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6814523PMC
November 2019

Mindfulness-based group intervention in adolescents at-risk for excess weight gain: A randomized controlled pilot study.

Appetite 2019 09 18;140:213-222. Epub 2019 May 18.

Human Development & Family Studies, Colorado State University, 1570 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, United States.

Objectives: To assess feasibility/acceptability of a mindfulness-based approach to excess weight prevention in adolescents at-risk for excess weight gain. To pilot test efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention for improving food reward sensitivity, stress-eating, executive function (EF), and BMI/adiposity.

Methods: A pilot randomized controlled trial was conducted with 12-17y adolescents at-risk for excess weight gain based on above-average weight (body mass index [BMI]≥70%ile) or parental history of obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m). Adolescents were randomized to a mindfulness-based (n = 29) or health education control group (n = 25) that met for six weekly one-hour sessions. Feasibility/acceptability were determined from attendance and acceptability survey ratings. At baseline, six-week and six-month follow-up, adolescents' perceived stress was measured with the Perceived Stress Scale, food reward sensitivity with a behavioral task, stress-eating during a laboratory test meal, and EF with the parent-reported Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function and NIH Toolbox. At the same intervals, BMI indices and body fat by air displacement plethysmography were assessed in a fasted state.

Results: Median session attendance was 6:6 sessions in both conditions; program acceptability ratings were above-average. Compared to health education, adolescents in mindfulness had lower food reward sensitivity at six-months (Cohen's d = 0.64, p = .01). There were no between-condition differences in BMI (mindfulness vs. health education 95%CI 0.20, 1.52 kg/m vs. 0.21, 1.62 kg/m) or adiposity (-3.64, -0.61% vs. -4.31, -1.04%) changes.

Conclusions: A mindfulness-based group intervention is feasible/acceptable among adolescents at-risk for excess weight. In this pilot sample, mindfulness and health education were equivocal for BMI/adiposity outcomes. Future trials with a larger, adequately-powered sample and longer-term follow-up are necessary to test efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention for food reward sensitivity, stress-eating, EF, and stabilizing growth trajectories in youth at-risk for adult obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.05.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6585452PMC
September 2019

Tailgating Protective Behavioral Strategies Mediate the Effects of Positive Alcohol Outcome Expectancies on Game Day Drinking.

J Prim Prev 2019 06;40(3):357-365

Department of Psychology, University of Houston, 126 Heyne Building, Houston, TX, 77204, USA.

Although a growing body of evidence suggests protective behavioral strategies are associated with lower alcohol use among college students, we know little about what contributes to students' decisions to use these strategies. Alcohol outcome expectancies have been associated with alcohol use among college students, and may contribute to their decisions to use protective behavioral strategies while drinking in contexts associated with an elevated risk for heavy alcohol use. University football game tailgating is one high-risk context that has received limited empirical attention with respect to identifying risk and protective factors for use. We sought to determine whether expectancy effects on tailgating drinking may be attributable to the approach or avoidance of protective strategies in this context. We expected college students who perceive greater positive expectancies to report engaging in more protective strategies on game day, whereas we hypothesized greater negative expectancies would be associated with less use of protective strategies. College students (N = 231) reported outcome expectancies online within 7 days of tailgating and quantity of alcoholic drinks consumed while tailgating, as well as whether they used limiting consumption (i.e., counting drinks, alternating drinking water and alcohol) and harm reduction (HR; i.e., sober transportation) strategies 48 h after tailgating. Results indicated higher positive expectancies were associated with greater use of HR strategies. Positive expectancies were indirectly positively related to greater game day tailgating drinking and negatively to odds of abstaining through the use of protective strategies, and unique indirect effects were observed for HR strategies. These findings highlight important individual differences that contribute to the use of protective behaviors, and suggest that expectancy-challenge interventions may be tailored to address unsafe drinking practices and promote college student health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10935-019-00548-1DOI Listing
June 2019

Characterizing Polytobacco Use Trajectories and Their Associations With Substance Use and Mental Health Across Mid-Adolescence.

Nicotine Tob Res 2018 08;20(suppl_1):S31-S38

Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA.

Background: Polytobacco product use is suspected to be common, dynamic across time, and increase risk for adverse behavioral outcomes. We statistically modeled characteristic types of polytobacco use trajectories during mid-adolescence and tested their prospective association with substance use and mental health problems.

Methods: Adolescents (N = 3393) in Los Angeles, CA, were surveyed semiannually from 9th to 11th grade. Past 6-month combustible cigarette, e-cigarette, or hookah use (yes/no) over four assessments were analyzed using parallel growth mixture modeling to identify a parsimonious set of polytobacco use trajectories. A tobacco product use trajectory group was used to predict substance use and mental health at the fifth assessment.

Results: Three profiles were identified: (1) tobacco nonusers (N = 2291, 67.5%) with the lowest use prevalence (<3%) of all products across all timepoints; (2) polyproduct users (N = 920, 27.1%) with moderate use prevalence of each product (8-35%) that escalated for combustible cigarettes but decreased for e-cigarettes and hookah across time; and (3) chronic polyproduct users (N = 182, 5.4%) with high prevalence of each product use (38-86%) that escalated for combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Nonusers, polyproduct users, and chronic polyproduct users reported successively higher alcohol, marijuana, and illicit drug use and ADHD at the final follow-up, respectively. Both tobacco using groups (vs. nonusers) reported greater odds of depression and anxiety at the final follow-up but did not differ from each other.

Conclusions: Adolescent polytobacco use may involve a common moderate risk trajectory and a less common high-risk chronic trajectory. Both trajectories predict substance use and mental health symptomology.

Implications: Variation in use and co-use of combustible cigarette, e-cigarette, and hookah use in mid-adolescence can be parsimoniously characterized by a small set common trajectory profiles in which polyproduct use are predominant patterns of tobacco product use, which predict adverse behavioral outcomes. Prevention and policy addressing polytobacco use (relative to single product use) may be optimal tobacco control strategies for youth, which may in turn prevent other forms of substance use and mental health problems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntx270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6093375PMC
August 2018

Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO: Effects of a personalized feedback plus protective behavioral strategies intervention for heavy marijuana-using college students.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2018 09 23;190:13-19. Epub 2018 Jun 23.

Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80525, USA.

Background: Marijuana use is common among U.S. college students. Liberalization of marijuana use policies is hypothesized to decrease social norms discouraging use, which protects against marijuana use. This may increase the importance of protective behavioral strategies (PBS) to reduce marijuana use harm.

Methods: This study tested direct and moderated (by sex) program effects of an adapted version of the Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO, a web-based marijuana use intervention providing university-specific personalized feedback (PF) with normative information and PBS to students attending a university in a state with legalized adult recreational marijuana. Participants were 298 heavy-using college students randomly assigned to receive Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO or strategies for healthy stress management (HSM). General linear models (GLMs) tested direct program effects on proximal intervention targets, marijuana use, and use consequences. Multi-group GLMs then tested the moderating effect of sex on direct intervention effects.

Results: Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO participants reported decreases in estimated use prevalence (i.e., descriptive norms), self-reported hours high per week, days high per week, periods high per week, and weeks high per month. Sex moderated intervention effects on the use of PBS such that females in the PF condition increased their use of PBS more than males.

Conclusion: Results demonstrate preliminary support for the adapted Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO in reducing marijuana use for "heavy college-aged users". Future research should test adapted Marijuana eCHECKUPTO GO sustained effects over time, and examine whether program effects on harm reduction manifest after sustained (e.g., booster) program implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2018.05.020DOI Listing
September 2018

Associations between anhedonia and marijuana use escalation across mid-adolescence.

Addiction 2017 Dec 31;112(12):2182-2190. Epub 2017 Jul 31.

Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.

Background And Aims: Anhedonia-a transdiagnostic psychopathological trait indicative of inability to experience pleasure-could lead to and result from adolescent marijuana use, yet this notion has not been tested. This study aimed to estimate the association of: (1) anhedonia at age 14 with rate of change in marijuana use over an 18-month follow-up, and (2) marijuana use at age 14 with rate of change in anhedonia over follow-up. Secondary aims were to test whether gender, baseline marijuana use history and peer marijuana use moderated these associations.

Design: Observational longitudinal cohort repeated-measures design, with baseline (age 14 years), 6-month, 12-month and 18-month follow-up assessments.

Settings: Ten public high schools in Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2013-15.

Participants: Students [n = 3394; 53.5% female, mean (standard deviation) age at baseline = 14.1 (0.42)].

Measurements: Self-report level of anhedonia on the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale and frequency of marijuana use in the past 30 days.

Findings: Parallel process latent growth curve models adjusting for confounders showed that baseline anhedonia level was associated positively with the rate of increase in marijuana use frequency across follow-ups [β, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.115 (0.022, 0.252), P = 0.03]. Baseline marijuana use frequency was not related significantly to the rate of change in anhedonia across follow-ups [β, 95% CI = -0.015 (-0.350, 0.321), P = 0.93]. The association of baseline anhedonia with faster marijuana use escalation was amplified among adolescents with (versus without) friends who used marijuana at baseline [β, 95% CI = 0.179 (0.043, 0.334) versus 0.064 (-0.071, 0.187), interaction P = 0.04], but did not differ by gender or baseline ever marijuana use.

Conclusions: In mid-adolescence, anhedonia is associated with subsequent marijuana use escalation, but marijuana use escalation does not appear to be associated with subsequent anhedonia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/add.13912DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5673572PMC
December 2017

Longitudinal relationships of sleep and inhibitory control deficits to early adolescent cigarette and alcohol use.

J Adolesc 2017 Jun 21;57:31-41. Epub 2017 Mar 21.

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Preventive Medicine, USA. Electronic address:

Research in older adolescents suggests insufficient sleep may increase substance use initiation risk. This study tested whether sleep duration and dysregulation of sleep-wake patterns in late-elementary school youth were prospectively associated with cigarette and alcohol use initiation and how sleep-related changes in inhibitory control mediate these relationships. Average sleep duration at 4th grade predicted 6th grade cigarette but not alcohol use, however indirect effects were identified through 5th grade inhibitory control to both cigarette and alcohol use. Indirect effects were also identified through inhibitory control for relationships between 4th grade weekend bed-time delay and 6th grade cigarette or alcohol use, and for relationships between 4th grade weekend wake-time delay and 6th grade cigarette or alcohol use. Reductions in nightly sleep increased risk of cigarette use. Findings suggest a pathway linking both reduced sleep duration and greater weekend shifting of sleep patterns to future substance use through sleep-related inhibitory control deficits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.03.003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5436806PMC
June 2017

Erratum to: Prospective Associations Between Peer Victimization and Dispositional Mindfulness in Early Adolescence.

Prev Sci 2017 05;18(4):490

Stress, Early Experiences, and Development Research Center, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-017-0765-5DOI Listing
May 2017

Prospective Associations Between Peer Victimization and Dispositional Mindfulness in Early Adolescence.

Prev Sci 2017 05;18(4):481-489

Stress, Early Experiences, and Development Research Center, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA.

Peer victimization is associated with several mental health and behavioral problems during childhood and adolescence. Identifying prospective associations between victimization and factors known to protect against these problems may ultimately contribute to more precise developmental models for victimization's role in behavioral and mental health. This study tested prospective associations between peer victimization and dispositional mindfulness, defined by non-judgmental and accepting awareness of the constant stream of lived experience, during early adolescence. It was hypothesized that victimization would predict lower levels of mindfulness over a 4-month period. Study participants were 152 seventh and eighth grade students (female = 51%, Caucasian = 35%, Hispanic/Latino = 34%, African-American = 13%, and multi-ethnic or other = 18%) participating in a social-emotional learning intervention feasibility trial. A structural equation model tested associations between mindfulness, victimization, and covariates at baseline, and mindfulness and victimization at 4-month posttest. As hypothesized, baseline victimization predicted significantly lower levels of mindfulness at 4-month posttest. Baseline mindfulness did not predict victimization. Results may reflect victimized youths' mindful awareness being recurrently diverted away from the present moment due to thoughts of prior and/or impending victimization. Study implications may include implementing mindful awareness practices as an intervention strategy for victimized youth to enhance and/or restore this promotive factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11121-017-0750-zDOI Listing
May 2017

Associations among dispositional mindfulness, self-compassion, and executive function proficiency in early adolescents.

Mindfulness (N Y) 2016 Dec 25;7(6):1377-1384. Epub 2016 Jul 25.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

The study objective was to examine the effects of two conceptually related constructs, self-compassion and dispositional mindfulness, on executive function (EF) proficiency among early adolescents. Executive function refers to a set of psychological processes governing emotional regulation, organization, and planning. While the benefits of positive psychology appear evident for mental health and wellness, little is known about the etiological relationship between dispositional mindfulness and self-compassion in their associations with EF. Two hundred and ten early adolescents attending middle school (age M=12.5 years; SD=0.5; 21% Hispanic, 18% Mixed/bi-racial, 47% White, and 9% Other/Missing; 37.1% on free lunch program) self-reported levels of dispositional mindfulness (Mindful Attention Awareness Scale; MAAS), self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale; SCS; self-judgment and self-kindness domains), and EF proficiency (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function; BRIEF-SR). A sequential linear regression stepwise approach was taken entering the independent variables as separate models in the following order: self-kindness, self-judgement, and dispositional mindfulness. All models controlled for participant age and sex. SCS was not associated with EF proficiency, but SCS (reverse-coded) contributed to the variance in EF (β=0.40, <.001). When adding MAAS to the model, MAAS scores were significantly associated with EF (β=0.64, <.001) and accounted for the initial variance explained by SCS. When considering the influence of positive psychology constructs on EF proficiency in adolescents, the measure of dispositional mindfulness appears to outweigh that of specific self-compassion domains, when independent of contemplative training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12671-016-0579-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198904PMC
December 2016

Executive function mediates prospective relationships between sleep duration and sedentary behavior in children.

Prev Med 2016 10 29;91:82-88. Epub 2016 Jul 29.

The Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research (IPR), Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA.

Childhood sedentary behavior has been linked to increased obesity risk. Prior work has identified associations between sedentary behavior, executive function (EF), and sleep. This study tested the hypothesis that reduced sleep duration may adversely impact EF and lead to increased childhood sedentary behavior. Southern California schoolchildren participating in the school-based health promotion program Pathways to Health (N=709) were assessed annually from 4th through 6th grades (2010-2013) on self-report measures of sedentary behavior, sleep duration, and executive function. A series of path models were specified treating average nightly sleep duration and weekend wake/bed-time shift at 4th grade as predictors of 6th grade sedentary behavior. Four EF subdomains were tested as potential mediators of longitudinal associations at 5th grade. Significant associations between average nightly sleep duration, EF and sedentary behavior were identified (p<0.05), adjusting for participant gender, physical activity, SES, ethnicity, program group assignment, and the presence/absence of parental screen time rules. Fifth grade overall EF (p<0.05)-and in particular the subdomains of inhibitory control (p<0.05) and organization of materials (p<0.01)-significantly mediated the relationship between 4th grade sleep duration and 6th grade sedentary behavior (p<0.05). Furthermore, delay of weekend bed- or wake-times relative to weekdays was prospectively associated with decreased overall EF (p<0.05), but not increased sedentary behavior (p=0.35 for bed-time delay; p=0.64 for wake-time delay), irrespective of average nightly sleep duration. Findings suggest that sleep promotion efforts may reduce children's sedentary behavior both directly and indirectly through changes in EF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.07.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359977PMC
October 2016

Improving substance use prevention efforts with executive function training.

Drug Alcohol Depend 2016 Jun;163 Suppl 1:S54-9

The Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research (IPR), Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90032 USA.

Background: Executive function (EF) includes emotional regulation, planning and decision-making, and behavioral impulse control. Improving youth substance use (SU) prevention by targeting EF poses challenges including determining whether specific sub-domains of EF are more associated with SU than others, whether EF is related to some types of SU more than others, and whether EF programs might be enhanced by inclusion of mindfulness training.

Methods: Data were drawn from two studies from the Pathways to Health project: a randomized controlled trial of 4th-6th graders and a cross-sectional pilot study of the relationship of EF to specific types of SU in a sample of 7th graders. Survey measures included assessment of the EF subdomains of inhibitory control (IC), emotional control, working memory, organization/planning, lifetime SU (tobacco and alcohol use), and mindfulness. Analyses included multivariate and multiple group path analysis.

Results: Results suggested that the EF sub-domain of IC was the strongest and most consistent predictor of SU, particularly cigarette and e-cigarette use, though emotional control was predictive of alcohol use among late-elementary school students. In the 7th grade sample, IC was predictive of alcohol, cigarette, and e-cigarette use only among students in the low 75% of mindfulness.

Conclusions: Findings from the present studies suggest that improvements in SU prevention efforts may result from increased curricular emphasis on IC and its application to multiple substance use prevention, and systematically integrating mindfulness with EF skills training. Future research should examine whether EF-SU relationships vary across patterns of SU and types of measures used to assess EF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.03.001DOI Listing
June 2016

Social Self-Control Is a Statistically Nonredundant Correlate of Adolescent Substance Use.

Subst Use Misuse 2016 05 12;51(6):788-94. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

a Department of Preventive Medicine , University of Southern California , Los Angeles , California , USA.

The social self-control scale (SSCS), which taps provocative behavior in social situations, was compared with five potentially overlapping measures (i.e., temperament-related impulsivity, psychomotor agitation-related self-control, perceived social competence, and rash action in response to negative and positive affectively charged states) as correlates of tobacco use and other drug use among a sample of 3,356 ninth-grade youth in Southern California high schools. While there was a lot of shared variance among the measures, the SSCS was incrementally associated with both categories of drug use over and above alternate constructs previously implicated in adolescent drug use. Hence, SSC may relate to adolescent drug use through an etiological pathway unique from other risk constructs. Given that youth who tend to alienate others through provocative social behavior are at risk for multiple drug use, prevention programming to modify low SSC may be warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2016.1141959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4848138PMC
May 2016

Separating the Association Between Inhibitory Control and Substance Use Prevalence Versus Quantity During Adolescence: A Hurdle Mixed-Effects Model Approach.

Subst Use Misuse 2016 24;51(5):565-73. Epub 2016 Mar 24.

c Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California , Los Angeles , California , USA.

Background: Inhibitory control is a critical component to the self-regulation of affect and behavior. Research consistently demonstrates negative associations between inhibitory control and several problem behaviors including substance misuse during early adolescence. However, analytic approaches previously used have often applied ordinary least squares (OLS) regression to non-normal count data with an excessive number of zeros (i.e., never users), violating several model assumptions. Further, OLS regression fails to model effects of the independent variable, separately, for both prevalence and quantity of use.

Objective: The study objective was to simultaneously model associations between inhibitory control and both past 30-day prevalence and amount of cigarette and marijuana use. It was hypothesized that when doing so, inhibitory control would be significantly associated with prevalence, but not quantity of use.

Method: Hurdle Mixed-effects Models (HMM) were used for hypothesis testing on data collected from 3,383, 9th grade adolescents (M(age) = 14.08 years).

Results: Results confirmed hypotheses, demonstrating that although significant bivariate associations between inhibitory control and quantity of cigarette and marijuana use existed, HMM analyses established that the associations were more precisely specific to past 30-day prevalence, and not quantity of use.

Conclusion: Results from a HMM approach contribute to a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of which characteristics of cigarette and marijuana use are associated with inhibitory control during early adolescence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/10826084.2015.1126742DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4861039PMC
January 2017

Resilience as Regulation of Developmental and Family Processes.

Fam Relat 2015 Feb 7;64(1):153-175. Epub 2015 Jan 7.

Colorado State University.

Resilience can be defined as establishing equilibrium subsequent to disturbances to a system caused by significant adversity. When families experience adversity or transitions, multiple regulatory processes may be involved in establishing equilibrium, including adaptability, regulation of negative affect, and effective problem-solving skills. The authors' resilience-as-regulation perspective integrates insights about the regulation of individual development with processes that regulate family systems. This middle-range theory of family resilience focuses on regulatory processes across levels that are involved in adaptation: whole-family systems such as routines and sense of coherence; coregulation of dyads involving emotion regulation, structuring, and reciprocal influences between social partners; and individual self-regulation. Insights about resilience-as-regulation are then applied to family-strengthening interventions that are designed to promote adaptation to adversity. Unresolved issues are discussed in relation to resilience-as-regulation in families, in particular how risk exposure is assessed, interrelations among family regulatory mechanisms, and how families scaffold the development of children's resilience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/fare.12100DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642729PMC
February 2015

Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Initiation of Combustible Tobacco Product Smoking in Early Adolescence.

JAMA 2015 Aug;314(7):700-7

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Importance: Exposure to nicotine in electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is becoming increasingly common among adolescents who report never having smoked combustible tobacco.

Objective: To evaluate whether e-cigarette use among 14-year-old adolescents who have never tried combustible tobacco is associated with risk of initiating use of 3 combustible tobacco products (ie, cigarettes, cigars, and hookah).

Design, Setting, And Participants: Longitudinal repeated assessment of a school-based cohort at baseline (fall 2013, 9th grade, mean age = 14.1 years) and at a 6-month follow-up (spring 2014, 9th grade) and a 12-month follow-up (fall 2014, 10th grade). Ten public high schools in Los Angeles, California, were recruited through convenience sampling. Participants were students who reported never using combustible tobacco at baseline and completed follow-up assessments at 6 or 12 months (N = 2530). At each time point, students completed self-report surveys during in-classroom data collections.

Exposure: Student self-report of whether he or she ever used e-cigarettes (yes or no) at baseline.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Six- and 12-month follow-up reports on use of any of the following tobacco products within the prior 6 months: (1) any combustible tobacco product (yes or no); (2) combustible cigarettes (yes or no), (3) cigars (yes or no); (4) hookah (yes or no); and (5) number of combustible tobacco products (range: 0-3).

Results: Past 6-month use of any combustible tobacco product was more frequent in baseline e-cigarette ever users (n = 222) than never users (n = 2308) at the 6-month follow-up (30.7% vs 8.1%, respectively; difference between groups in prevalence rates, 22.7% [95% CI, 16.4%-28.9%]) and at the 12-month follow-up (25.2% vs 9.3%, respectively; difference between groups, 15.9% [95% CI, 10.0%-21.8%]). Baseline e-cigarette use was associated with greater likelihood of use of any combustible tobacco product averaged across the 2 follow-up periods in the unadjusted analyses (odds ratio [OR], 4.27 [95% CI, 3.19-5.71]) and in the analyses adjusted for sociodemographic, environmental, and intrapersonal risk factors for smoking (OR, 2.73 [95% CI, 2.00-3.73]). Product-specific analyses showed that baseline e-cigarette use was positively associated with combustible cigarette (OR, 2.65 [95% CI, 1.73-4.05]), cigar (OR, 4.85 [95% CI, 3.38-6.96]), and hookah (OR, 3.25 [95% CI, 2.29-4.62]) use and with the number of different combustible products used (OR, 4.26 [95% CI, 3.16-5.74]) averaged across the 2 follow-up periods.

Conclusions And Relevance: Among high school students in Los Angeles, those who had ever used e-cigarettes at baseline compared with nonusers were more likely to report initiation of combustible tobacco use over the next year. Further research is needed to understand whether this association may be causal.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2015.8950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771179PMC
August 2015

Translating Developmental Neuroscience to Substance Use Prevention.

Curr Addict Rep 2015 Jun;2(2):114-121

Several preventive interventions have demonstrated efficacy in reducing substance use. However, opportunities exist to further improve prevention approaches. The application of recent advances in developmental neuroscience can inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of substance use prevention programs. This paper first briefly describes the developmental integration of the prefrontal cortex with emotion and motivation centers of the brain, and the implications of this process for substance use vulnerability. Discussed next are specific examples of how developmental neuroscience can inform prevention timing, development, and evaluation. Contextual considerations are then suggested including a critical role for schools in substance misuse prevention. Finally, current theoretical and methodological challenges to the translation of developmental neuroscience to substance use prevention are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40429-015-0050-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4518858PMC
June 2015

Novelty Seeking as a Phenotypic Marker of Adolescent Substance Use.

Subst Abuse 2015 17;9(Suppl 1):1-10. Epub 2015 Jun 17.

Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. ; Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Trait novelty seeking has been consistently implicated in substance use, yet the origins and mechanisms of novelty seeking in substance use proneness are unclear. We aimed to characterize novelty seeking as a phenotypic marker of substance use proneness in adolescence, a critical period for drug use experimentation. To this end, we parsed novelty seeking's two constituent subdimensions - exploratory excitability (drive for novel experience) and impulsiveness (careless decision-making) - and explored the individual relations of these dimensions to: (1) the use of a variety of licit and illicit substances, (2) family history of substance use, and (3) subjective drug effects. Five hundred eighty five adolescents (mean age = 14.5 years) completed surveys of key variables. Results indicated that, when accounting for the covariation among exploratory excitability and impulsiveness, impulsiveness emerged as the more salient correlate of substance use and was independently associated with initiation of nearly all drug classes. Mediation analyses of the mechanisms of novelty seeking-related risk illustrated that impulsiveness mediated the association of family history of substance use with both initiation and past 30-day frequency of use. Both impulsiveness and exploratory excitability were associated with increased positive and negative subjective drug effects, and the analyses supported a significant indirect pathway from impulsiveness to a more frequent use via positive subjective effects. Although limited by a cross-sectional design, these findings suggest that impulsiveness-like aspects of the novelty seeking construct may represent a useful phenotypic marker for early substance use proneness that potentially (1) increases initiation risk, (2) has familial origins, and (3) promotes more frequent use by altering subjective drug response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4137/SART.S22440DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4472033PMC
June 2015

Inhibitory control and the onset of combustible cigarette, e-cigarette, and hookah use in early adolescence: The moderating role of socioeconomic status.

Child Neuropsychol 2016 22;22(6):679-91. Epub 2015 Jun 22.

b Department of Preventive Medicine , University of Southern California , Los Angeles , USA.

The purpose of the study was to test the moderating influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on the associations between inhibitory control and the onset of combustible cigarette, electronic (e-) cigarette, and hookah use in early adolescence. A total of 407 adolescents self-reported nicotine use, inhibitory control, and SES. The hypothesis that inhibitory control would be significantly associated with nicotine use onset (i.e., combustible cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and hookah) only under the condition of low SES was tested. Direct associations were found for inhibitory control on "ever use" of all three nicotine use variables. A moderating effect was also found whereby low inhibitory control was significantly associated with nicotine use onset when participants were from low, but not high, SES families. Findings illustrate one contextual condition under which inhibitory control is associated with early onset of nicotine use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09297049.2015.1053389DOI Listing
February 2017

Cultural competence in afterschool programs.

New Dir Youth Dev 2014 Dec;2014(144):105-17

T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University.

Increasing ethnic diversity among American youth, in combination with funding priorities often targeting underserved populations, has increased the number of diverse youth attending afterschool programs (ASPs). At present, there is little guidance on how to best design ASPs and prepare staff to support the development of these diverse youth. The fields of medicine and education have begun to explore the impact of cultural competence at the organizational, structural, and professional levels to help bridge potential cultural divides. This chapter will briefly review the literature on cultural competence and emerging evidence within ASPs. It will then provide concrete examples of how afterschool programs have infused culturally tailored content and/or staff trainings to build cultural competence. Finally, specific recommendations will be made to serve as a springboard for future research and practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/yd.20116DOI Listing
December 2014

Parent, peer, and executive function relationships to early adolescent e-cigarette use: a substance use pathway?

Addict Behav 2015 Mar 1;42:73-8. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 2001 N. Soto St., Soto Building, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9239, USA. Electronic address:

Introduction: Little is known about influences on e-cigarette use among early adolescents. This study examined influences that have been previously found to be associated with gateway drug use in adolescents: demographic (age, gender, ethnicity, free lunch), social contextual influences of parents and peers, and executive function deficits (EF).

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered to 410 7th grade students from two diverse school districts in Southern California (M age;=12.4years, 48.3% female, 34.9% on free lunch (low socioeconomic status), 45.1% White, 25.4% Hispanic/Latino, 14.9% Mixed/bi-racial.) Logistic regression analyses examined influences of demographic, parent e-cigarette ownership and peer use, and EF on lifetime e-cigarette, and gateway drug use (cigarette and/or alcohol use).

Results: Lifetime use prevalence was 11.0% for e-cigarettes, 6.8% for cigarettes, and 38.1% for alcohol. Free lunch and age were marginally related to e-cigarette use (p<.10). Parent e-cigarette ownership was associated with use of all substances, while peer use was associated with gateway drug use (p's<.05-.001). EF deficits were associated with use of all substances five times more likely than others to use e-cigarettes and over twice as likely to use gateway drugs.

Conclusions: E-cigarette and gateway drug use may have common underlying risk factors in early adolescence, including parent and peer modeling of substance use, as well as EF deficits. Future research is needed to examine longitudinal relationships of demographics, parent and peer modeling, and EF deficits to e-cigarette use in larger samples, trajectories of e-cigarette use compared to use of other substances, and the potential of EF skills training programs to prevent e-cigarette use.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.10.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4292878PMC
March 2015

Children's executive function and high-calorie, low-nutrient food intake: mediating effects of child-perceived adult fast food intake.

Health Educ Behav 2015 Apr 5;42(2):163-70. Epub 2014 Sep 5.

Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Objective: This study tested the relationships among child executive function (EF), child-perceived parent fast food intake, and child self-reported subsequent consumption of high-calorie, low-nutrient (HCLN) food.

Design: One year and 6-month longitudinal observation from a larger randomized controlled trial.

Setting: Southern California elementary schools.

Participants: Fourth- and fifth-grade children (N = 1,005) participating in the Pathways to Health obesity prevention program.

Results: Child EF problems were associated with higher concurrent HCLN intake (B = 0.29, SE = 0.10, p < .001) and had a significant indirect effect through higher perceived frequency of parent fast food intake (indirect effect = 0.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = [0.11, 0.25], p < .001). Longitudinally, child EF problems did not significantly predict higher HCLN intake a year and a half later (B = 0.01, SE = 0.10, p = .92, n = 848) but did have a significant indirect effect through higher perceived parent fast food intake (indirect effect = 0.05, 95% CI = [0.02, 0.10], p < .001).

Conclusions: Children's EF difficulties may increase their perception of parent concurrent fast food intake, contributing to their own unhealthy food intake. However, EF problems may not directly affect HCLN intake across time, except when problems are associated with child perception of more frequent parent consumption of convenience foods. Future research is needed to investigate the possibility that helping children perceive and understand role models' convenience food consumption may improve child dietary consumption patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1090198114547811DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5514607PMC
April 2015

Applying neurodevelopmental theory to school-based drug misuse prevention during adolescence.

New Dir Youth Dev 2014 ;2014(141):33-43, 9-10

Colorado State University.

Adolescence is characterized by incredible development in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for behavioral and emotional self-regulation, and higher order cognitive decision-making skills (that is, executive function). Typically late prefrontal cortical development and its integration with limbic areas of the brain associated with reward, pleasure, novelty seeking, and emotion can contribute to substance misuse vulnerability during adolescence. In this chapter, literature on the developmental integration of the prefrontal cortex with emotion and motivation centers of the brain is reviewed. Then this research is applied to school-based adolescent substance misuse prevention, highlighting two examples of preventive interventions incorporating neurocognitive models into comprehensive prevention approaches. Finally, innovative strategies (for example, mindfulness training) for promoting neurocognition as a mediator to substance misuse vulnerability are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/yd.20084DOI Listing
July 2015