Over the course of a lifetime, each maltreated child costs society more than $120 billion dollars (USDHHS, 2012). The largest share of this cost is a product of incarceration, hospitalization, and rehabilitation stemming from alcohol use. Efforts to make inroads into the problem of child maltreatment and alcohol use have largely failed. While there are excellent prospective longitudinal studies of child maltreatment (e.g., Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse & Neglect, Longscan) and binge drinking (e.g., Michigan Longitudinal Study, MLS), a gap remains in connecting these two important domains. The present investigation bridges this gap by identifying neural trajectories associated with binge drinking in maltreated children. This study has the advantage of using the well-validated measures and methods that are common to both Longscan and the MLS. The proposed research takes a step forward in that it is the first to examine brain pathways linking binge drinking and child maltreatment. This study is particularly interested in identifying resilience factors to foster positive changes for maltreated children. This research has the potential to make vital inroads in prevention and intervention as well as building critical links between established longitudinal studies. The enormous lifetime costs associated with binge drinking and child maltreatment make biomarkers prime candidates in prevention, intervention, and public policy initiatives aimed at reducing alcoholism.
The proposed research seeks to identify neural trajectories of underage binge drinking in maltreated children. The enormous lifetime costs associated with binge drinking and child maltreatment make biomarkers prime candidates in prevention, treatment, and public policy initiatives aimed at reducing alcoholism.