This application proposes a continuation of a Research Scientist Development Award to enhance skills for studying early onset of substance use, which has prognostic significance for substance abuse. In the current award period the activities were focused on a temperament model of vulnerability vs. resistance and this resulted in research, publications, and new grants. While the award facilitated the understanding of temperament dimensions, new questions were raised about self-regulation as a major predisposing factor for early onset. The overall aim for the continuation is to elaborate the significance of self-regulation concepts for etiology and prevention research, with a focus on obtaining a better understanding of activation and inhibition mechanisms. A program of skill development will include theoretical development through interaction with colleague-mentors and methodological development through ongoing consultation with the NIDA Methodology Center at Penn State. A second activity is conduct of collateral research in the context of ongoing grants; these will examine early onset in an African-American population, and examine activation and inhibition concepts in school-based designs and epigenetic research. Following from the first two aims, the third phase will use theory and findings on self-regulation constructs to develop self-control training modules for integration in a stepped preventive intervention for early-onset use; modules for use in a universal intervention and for use in a high-risk intervention will both be developed. These modules are designed to be integrated with other relevant program material so as to enhance the effectiveness of existing prevention approaches; this activity will lead to new research to test the effect of self-control training in a controlled trial.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
Program Officer
Conway, Kevin P
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Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Walker, Carmella; Ainette, Michael G; Wills, Thomas A et al. (2007) Religiosity and substance use: test of an indirect-effect model in early and middle adolescence. Psychol Addict Behav 21:84-96
Piko, Bettina F; Wills, Thomas A; Walker, Carmella (2007) Motives for smoking and drinking: country and gender differences in samples of Hungarian and US high school students. Addict Behav 32:2087-98
Wills, Thomas A; Sargent, James D; Stoolmiller, Mike et al. (2007) Movie exposure to smoking cues and adolescent smoking onset: a test for mediation through peer affiliations. Health Psychol 26:769-76
Wills, Thomas A; Ainette, Michael G; Mendoza, Don et al. (2007) Self-control, symptomatology, and substance use precursors: test of a theoretical model in a community sample of 9-year-old children. Psychol Addict Behav 21:205-15
Sargent, James D; Wills, Thomas A; Stoolmiller, Mike et al. (2006) Alcohol use in motion pictures and its relation with early-onset teen drinking. J Stud Alcohol 67:54-65
Pomery, Elizabeth A; Gibbons, Frederick X; Gerrard, Meg et al. (2005) Families and risk: prospective analyses of familial and social influences on adolescent substance use. J Fam Psychol 19:560-70
Wills, Thomas Ashby; Dishion, Thomas J (2004) Temperament and adolescent substance use: a transactional analysis of emerging self-control. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 33:69-81
Sussman, Steve; Earleywine, Mitchell; Wills, Thomas et al. (2004) The motivation, skills, and decision-making model of ""drug abuse"" prevention. Subst Use Misuse 39:1971-2016
Gibbons, Frederick X; Gerrard, Meg; Cleveland, Michael J et al. (2004) Perceived discrimination and substance use in African American parents and their children: a panel study. J Pers Soc Psychol 86:517-29
Wills, Thomas Ashby; Resko, Jody A; Ainette, Michael G et al. (2004) Smoking onset in adolescence: a person-centered analysis with time-varying predictors. Health Psychol 23:158-67

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