Risk for substance use (SU) including alcohol and other drug use, builds cumulatively over the course of adolescence culminating at a point of peak risk in late adolescence. Understanding the emergence of SU and related problems in late adolescence requires a characterization of the early adolescent risk context. SU information processing is a proximal cause of SU that mediates a broad range of more distal risk and protective factors. Current cognitive models of addiction distinguish controlled (slow deliberative and reflective) and automatic (fast and impulsive) processing and appraisal of SU information and posit that these processes jointly influence SU. Further, the role of information processing in SU is moderated by general capacity for self- regulation (i.e., executive functioning), which confers added risk. The literature supports these models for both adolescents and adults, yet very little of this research has taken a developmental perspective. Consequently, how automatic and controlled SU information processing develops, and whether these processes operate differently with age and stage of use is poorly understood. This is a critical gap in the literatur, as well- validated developmentally informed etiological models are crucial for the advancement of effective preventive interventions. Social context (e.g. peers, parents) and personality are strong determinants of SU, in part because of the role they play in shaping SU information processing. Social context changes dramatically from early to late adolescence, yet there has been little consideration of how these shifts may affect the development of SU information processing across stages of adolescence and stages of use. Indeed, no long- term longitudinal studies have followed youth from SU initiation, escalation, and emergence of problems to address these issues. Furthermore, neuroadaptations to SU change the motivational significance of SU, and likely impact reciprocal associations between SU and SU information processing, yet no research has examined such bidirectionality across adolescence. The proposed project addresses these gaps. This is a continuation of a study of alcohol and drug use in a community sample first assessed at ages 10-13 years. The proposed project will follow the sample into late adolescence (mean ages 18, 19, and 20 years) for 3 additional multi-method assessments that will include laboratory tasks and questionnaires. A critical feature of our longitudinal design is the ability to model multiple etiological influences, and pathways (mediation, moderation, reciprocal associations) and to compare directly how each may shift across age and stage of use (initiation, heavy use, problem use). The project will examine: 1) The changing role of automatic and controlled SU information processing;2) Whether these processes mediate the influence of social context (parental SU- specific socialization, peer norms) and personality (reinforcement sensitivity) on SU;3) Reciprocal associations between SU information processing and SU.

Public Health Relevance

Adolescence is a critical period for onset and escalation of substance use (SU), and the high personal and societal costs of adolescent SU make it a critical public health problem. Validated and developmentally informed etiological theories are crucial for advancing effective preventive interventions. This project will inform such etiological models, and provide much needed knowledge for the development of interventions.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Etz, Kathleen
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State University of New York at Buffalo
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Zehe, Jennifer M; Colder, Craig R (2014) A latent growth curve analysis of alcohol-use specific parenting and adolescent alcohol use. Addict Behav 39:1701-5
Colder, Craig R; O'Connor, Roisin M; Read, Jennifer P et al. (2014) Growth trajectories of alcohol information processing and associations with escalation of drinking in early adolescence. Psychol Addict Behav 28:659-70
Scalco, Matthew D; Colder, Craig R; Hawk, Larry W et al. (2014) Internalizing and externalizing problem behavior and early adolescent substance use: a test of a latent variable interaction and conditional indirect effects. Psychol Addict Behav 28:828-40
Colder, Craig R; Hawk Jr, Larry W; Lengua, Liliana J et al. (2013) Trajectories of Reinforcement Sensitivity During Adolescence and Risk for Substance Use. J Res Adolesc 23:345-356
Vergara-Lopez, Chrystal; Lopez-Vergara, Hector I; Colder, Craig R (2013) Executive functioning moderates the relationship between motivation and adolescent depressive symptoms. Pers Individ Dif 54:18-22
Colder, Craig R; Scalco, Matthew; Trucco, Elisa M et al. (2013) Prospective associations of internalizing and externalizing problems and their co-occurrence with early adolescent substance use. J Abnorm Child Psychol 41:667-77
O'Connor, Roisin M; Lopez-Vergara, Hector I; Colder, Craig R (2012) Implicit cognition and substance use: the role of controlled and automatic processes in children. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 73:134-43
Colder, Craig R; Trucco, Elisa M; Lopez, Hector I et al. (2011) Revised Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory and Laboratory Assessment of BIS and BAS in Children. J Res Pers 45:198-207