Adolescence is characterized by heightened vulnerability to health risk behaviors such as experimenting with drugs and alcohol and engaging in unsafe sexual activity that together are the major proximal causes of drug addiction and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Research in developmental neuroscience suggests that risk-taking in adolescence may derive from differing developmental trajectories of two distinct neural systems that regulate risky decisions: (i) early maturation of a reward system that biases decisions toward high-reward options, combined with (ii) late maturation of a cognitive control system that biases decisions away from options with potential negative consequences. Yet, we know very little about how developing reward and control neural systems interact to produce differential vulnerability to poor decision-making that leads to adverse health outcomes. We propose the first longitudinal analyses to examine how individual differences in developmental trajectories of reward/risk sensitivity and cognitive control are related to the development of adolescent substance use and risky sexual behaviors. We will study a sample of 120 adolescents from understudied Appalachian communities for the outcomes of substance use (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other illicit drug use) and HIV/STD-related risky sexual behaviors (e.g., multiple sexual partners and unprotected sex) throughout middle adolescence (13-17 years). We will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify neural correlates of risky decision- making: reward/risk sensitivity (reward system) and cognitive control (control system). We will examine our hypotheses at the neural level as well as within the context of standard assessments of behavior (e.g., executive function tasks) and self- and parent reported attributes (e.g., approach/avoidance) to obtain a more integrated understanding of the connections between reward and control systems and adolescent risk-taking. Based on our conceptual model we will test whether cognitive control statistically moderates the effects of reward/risk sensitivity on adolescent substance use and HIV/STD-related risky sexual behaviors. We hypothesize that neural patterns of hyperactive reward sensitivity and hypoactive risk sensitivity will be related to greater involvement in substance use and risky sexual behaviors, especially for those adolescents with hypoactive cognitive control. The proposed research will make theoretical contributions by providing new knowledge about the interaction between reward and control neural systems that, to our knowledge, have not been studied. Our design will also allow us to investigate the reciprocal interplay between adolescent risky behaviors and these neural processes. The findings from this work will yield critical information for identifying adolescents with high neurobiological vulnerability for developing substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors and will have the potential to improve prevention efforts to positively alter developmental pathways of youth who are at risk for drug addiction and HIV/STDs.

Public Health Relevance

Among youth in the United States, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality include tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, as well as sexual behaviors that contribute to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The proposed longitudinal study will examine the joint contribution of developing neural markers-cognitive control and reward/risk sensitivity-to substance use and HIV/STD-related risky sexual behaviors throughout mid-adolescence. The findings from this work will yield critical information for identifying adolescents with high neurobiological vulnerability for developing substance abuse and HIV/STD-related risky sexual behaviors, and will have the potential to improve prevention efforts to positively alter developmental pathways of those youth who are at risk for drug addiction and HIV/STDs.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
1R01DA036017-01
Application #
8562220
Study Section
Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention Study Section (PDRP)
Program Officer
Boyce, Cheryl A
Project Start
2013-07-01
Project End
2018-03-31
Budget Start
2013-07-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$731,183
Indirect Cost
$269,009
Name
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
003137015
City
Blacksburg
State
VA
Country
United States
Zip Code
24061
Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Kahn, Rachel; Deater-Deckard, Kirby et al. (2016) Risky decision making in a laboratory driving task is associated with health risk behaviors during late adolescence but not adulthood. Int J Behav Dev 40:58-63
Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Deater-Deckard, Kirby; Holmes, Christopher et al. (2016) Behavioral and neural inhibitory control moderates the effects of reward sensitivity on adolescent substance use. Neuropsychologia 91:318-326
Holmes, Christopher J; Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen (2016) Positive and Negative Associations between Adolescents' Religiousness and Health Behaviors via Self-Regulation. Religion Brain Behav 6:188-206
Holmes, Christopher; Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen (2016) Why are Religiousness and Spirituality Associated with Externalizing Psychopathology? A Literature Review. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev 19:1-20
Holmes, Christopher J; Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Deater-Deckard, Kirby (2016) Linking Executive Function and Peer Problems from Early Childhood Through Middle Adolescence. J Abnorm Child Psychol 44:31-42
Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Holmes, Christopher; Deater-Deckard, Kirby (2015) Attention regulates anger and fear to predict changes in adolescent risk-taking behaviors. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 56:756-65
Farley, Julee P; Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen (2015) Longitudinal Associations among Impulsivity, Friend Substance Use, and Adolescent Substance Use. J Addict Res Ther 6:
Kahn, Rachel E; Holmes, Christopher; Farley, Julee P et al. (2015) Delay Discounting Mediates Parent-Adolescent Relationship Quality and Risky Sexual Behavior for Low Self-Control Adolescents. J Youth Adolesc 44:1674-87
Kim-Spoon, Jungmeen; Longo, Gregory S; Holmes, Christopher J (2015) Brief report: Bifactor modeling of general vs. specific factors of religiousness differentially predicting substance use risk in adolescence. J Adolesc 43:15-9
Christopoulos, George I; King-Casas, Brooks (2015) With you or against you: social orientation dependent learning signals guide actions made for others. Neuroimage 104:326-35

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