The overarching aim of this Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) is to provide a 5-year career development and research program that will enable the candidate to conduct innovative research on the alcoholism risk process of African Americans. African Americans are more likely to abstain from alcohol compared to European Americans. However, among those who drink alcohol, African Americans are more likely than European Americans to experience problems. The proposed project will study this discrepancy by utilizing laboratory and naturalistic assessments to examine racial differences in two widely studied risk factors for alcohol use disorders: response to alcohol and behavioral disinhibition. Research participants will be drawn from a population of young adults with maximal variability in behavioral disinhibition: adults with (and without) histories of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The addition of naturalistic assessments will increase the ecological validity of the findings which is especially important when studying racial group differences. Participants will be recruited from ongoing longitudinal studies of children with ADHD (PI: Molina; AA11873; DA85553; MH53554). An even number of European (n = 60) and African American (n = 60) adult drinkers will be recruited and matched across race on recent drinking behavior. An even number of participants with and without ADHD histories will be recruited. Participants will complete 3 behavioral disinhibition tasks in two laboratory sessions (alcohol and non-alcohol beverage control) and questionnaires. Response to alcohol will be assessed 7 times after alcohol consumption. Participants will then complete a 10- day ecological momentary assessment period in their natural environment. T hey will respond to random prompts throughout the day to report mood, risky decision making, and environment. Participants will also initiate responding upon drinking alcohol to capture subjective response to alcohol and consequences of alcohol use. Follow-up assessments will be conducted 6 months later. The proposed project has three specific research aims: 1) Test racial differences in acute response to alcohol. 2) Test racial differences in behavioral disinhibition while sober and intoxicated. 3) Examine racial differences in the association between acute response to alcohol and intoxicated behavioral disinhibition; incorporate context-specific factors that may facilitate this association. The candidate will receive in-depth trainingin the multi-modal assessment of behavioral disinhibition, ecological momentary assessment techniques, advanced statistics, and multi-cultural training with an emphasis on the African American culture. Upon completion, the candidate will be poised to conduct high-impact research that links lab and naturalistic assessments to understand the etiology of alcohol use disorders across races. Results will inform future intervention efforts designed to decrease alcohol-related problems experienced by African Americans.

Public Health Relevance

African American drinkers compared to European American drinkers are at increased risk for experiencing alcohol-related problems. The proposed project assesses individuals both in the laboratory and in their own natural environment to study behavioral disinhibition and acute response to alcohol as a way to understand these racial differences. Results of the project can help inform intervention and prevention efforts that will ultimately lead to a reduction in these health disparities.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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Study Section
Health Services Research Review Subcommittee (AA)
Program Officer
Matochik, John A
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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