The major long-term objectives of the proposed Pathway to Independence Award are to develop a program of research on the etiology and prevention of alcohol use and related negative consequences in young adults and the launching of her career as an independent scientist with an assistant professor position. These goals will be achieved via a 5-year training plan and complementary research plan.
Aims of the training plan include gaining experience in addictions research, personalized feedback interventions, social networking based recruitment, and dissemination of data. These more immediate goals will be achieved through an interactive training plan comprised of formal coursework, seminars, workshops, national conferences, and writing a literature review on alcohol interventions in young adults. Knowledge gained via the training plan will be augmented by the proposed research. The long-term goal of research plan to develop theoretically sound dual-processing alcohol interventions for young adults Specific aims of this research will be accomplished in two studies. Study 1, to be completed during the K99 mentored phase, consists of a longitudinal study designed to achieve specific aim # 1, which is to evaluate the Prototype Willingness model, when applied to alcohol use, in a sample of young adults aged 18-20 in order to inform the development of theoretically sound brief interventions. Study 2 (R00 phase) will employ an experimental design to achieve specific aims 2, 3, and 4, which are to determine whether interventions based on the full Prototype Willingness model and each active component (reasoned pathway and social pathway) are efficacious at reducing alcohol use in a young adult sample, ages 18-20 relative to an assessment only control, determine if college student status (currently enrolled or not) and drinking behavior (light versus heavy) moderates the efficacy of reasoned versus social interventions, and to determine theoretical mechanisms underlying the social, reasoned, and integrated intervention efficacies. Drs. Mary Larimer, Melissa Lewis, and Clayton Neighbors will serve as mentors on this award and will provide expertise in alcohol use, experimental methodology, and designing and delivering personalized feedback interventions. Resources at the University of Washington provide an environment conducive to developing a career in alcohol research and gaining the skills necessary to launch a career as an independent scientist. The proposed studies will also provide pilot data for Dr. Litt's first R01 submission to NIAAA. The proposed award is consistent with NIH's goal of increasing and maintaining a strong cohort of investigators to address the Nation's behavioral and clinical research needs.

Public Health Relevance

Hazardous alcohol use and related negative consequences during young adulthood is a large public health concern. These data will contribute to advancing the field in understanding the dual processing nature of decisions to use alcohol and ultimately inform theoretically sound and efficacious alcohol interventions among young adults.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Career Transition Award (K99)
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Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
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White, Aaron
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University of Washington
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Litt, Dana M; Stock, Michelle L; Gibbons, Frederick X (2015) Adolescent alcohol use: Social comparison orientation moderates the impact of friend and sibling behaviour. Br J Health Psychol 20:514-33
Litt, Dana M; Lewis, Melissa A; Linkenbach, Jeffrey W et al. (2014) Normative misperceptions of peer seat belt use among high school students and their relationship to personal seat belt use. Traffic Inj Prev 15:748-52
Lewis, Melissa A; Litt, Dana M; Cronce, Jessica M et al. (2014) Underestimating protection and overestimating risk: examining descriptive normative perceptions and their association with drinking and sexual behaviors. J Sex Res 51:86-96
Lewis, Melissa A; Patrick, Megan E; Litt, Dana M et al. (2014) Randomized controlled trial of a web-delivered personalized normative feedback intervention to reduce alcohol-related risky sexual behavior among college students. J Consult Clin Psychol 82:429-40
Litt, Dana M; Lewis, Melissa A; Patrick, Megan E et al. (2014) Spring break versus spring broken: predictive utility of spring break alcohol intentions and willingness at varying levels of extremity. Prev Sci 15:85-93
Litt, Dana M; Lewis, Melissa A; Blayney, Jessica A et al. (2013) Protective behavioral strategies as a mediator of the generalized anxiety and alcohol use relationship among lesbian and bisexual women. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 74:168-74
Litt, Dana M; Lewis, Melissa A; Stahlbrandt, Henriettae et al. (2012) Social comparison as a moderator of the association between perceived norms and alcohol use and negative consequences among college students. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 73:961-7