The proposed Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award details a five- year plan that will enable the candidate to develop her career as independent clinical scientist with a programmatic line of research on interpersonal traits and behaviors, psychobiological models of stress, and addictive behaviors. The candidate draws on her background in interpersonal theory and assessment and integrates training in three new areas: (1) phenomenology and assessment of addictive behaviors;(2) psychobiological models of cumulative stress become;and (3) ecological momentary assessment methodology and data analysis. Training will include coursework and directed readings and will be facilitated by a team of interdisciplinary scientists with expertise in each of these training areas. In addition to mentored training activities, the candidate also proposes two research projects which will facilitate the application of new expertise into the examination of when and for whom specific interpersonal stressors and behaviors are associated with increased severity and frequency of addictive behaviors. In Study 1, the candidate will examine the longitudinal course of addictive behaviors by conducting a one year follow-up with a well-characterized sample of men and women.
Aims of this study focus on the moderating influence of interpersonal factors with chronic stress levels, and biomarkers of altered HPA functioning, in predicting frequency and severity of addictive behaviors. In Study 2, the use of ecological momentary assessment will extend the prior studies findings to the microlevel examination of social behavior, affective response, and tobacco, alcohol, and overeating. This study will examine variability across time and context in interpersonal behaviors, affect, and addictive behaviors. These two research projects will assist in filling in specific gaps in understanding the heterogeneity of addiction course, specifically how social stress and individual differences negatively impact the course of addictive behaviors. This training and research plan will help the candidate secure future funding for this program of research and facilitate her development into an independent scientist.
This application has significant public health relevance. These proposed research projects will examine the role of vulnerability from interpersonal behaviors and stress on the use of three addictive substances: alcohol abuse, tobacco use, and overeating, which represent the top three causes of preventable death and disease in this country and account for more than 600 billion dollars in annual healthcare expenditures. Identifying individual differences which help explain the heterogeneity in vulnerability is extremely important for understanding mechanisms associated with risk, identifying preventative approaches with certain at risk groups, and implementing treatment matching in order to promote better longitudinal outcomes.
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