Skip Navigation

Link to  the National Institutes of Health  
The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Archives of the National Institute on Drug Abuse web site
Go to the Home page

Home > Publications > Director's Reports > February, 2005 Index    

Director's Report to the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse - February, 2005

Research Findings - Prevention Ressearch

School-Based Drug Abuse Prevention Program on Adolescent Risky Driving

To determine whether a large-scale randomized trial of a school-based drug abuse prevention program during junior high school led to less risky driving among high school students, researchers examined Department of Motor Vehicles data including the total number of violations on students' driving records as well as the number of "points" that indicate the frequency and severity of the violations. Controlling for gender and alcohol use, students who received the drug prevention program during junior high school were less likely to have violations and points on their driving records relative to control group participants that did not receive the prevention program. Anti-drinking attitudes mediated the effect of the intervention on driving violations but not points. These results suggest that the behavioral effects of competence-enhancement prevention programs can extend to risk behaviors beyond the initial focus of the intervention, such as risky driving. Griffin, K.W., Botvin, G.J. and Nichols, T.R. Long-Term Follow-Up Effects of a School-Based Drug Abuse Prevention Program on Adolescent Risky Driving. Prevention Science, 5(3), pp. 207-212, 2004.

Preventing Substance Use and Disordered Eating

This article assesses the efficacy of a school-based, sport team-centered program to prevent young female high school athletes' disordered eating and body-shaping drug abuse. The ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternative) curriculum's 8 weekly 45-minute sessions were incorporated into a team's usual practice activities. Content was gender-specific, peer-led, and explicitly scripted. Experimental athletes reported significantly less ongoing and new use of diet pills and less new use of athletic-enhancing substances (amphetamines, anabolic steroids, and sport supplements). Other health-harming actions were also reduced (e.g., riding with an alcohol-consuming driver, failure to use seat belts, and new sexual activity). ATHENA athletes had positive changes in strength-training, self-efficacy and healthy eating behaviors. Thus, sport teams are effective natural vehicles for gender-specific, peer-led curricula to promote healthy lifestyles and to deter disordered eating, athletic-enhancing substance use, and other health-harming behaviors. Elliot, D.L., Goldberg, L., Moe, E.L., DeFrancesco, C.A., Durham, M.B., and Hix-Small, H. Preventing Substance Use and Disordered Eating: Initial Outcomes of the ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Health Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives) Program. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 158, pp. 1043-1049, 2004.

Two Prevention Programs Reduce High Risk Behaviors Among African American Boys

This study was designed to test the efficacy of two programs to reduce high-risk behaviors, including drug use, delinquency, and high risk sexual behavior, among inner-city African-American youth. Students in grades 5 through 8 and their parents and teachers in twelve metropolitan Chicago schools were involved in a cluster randomized trial. The preventive interventions being tested were 1) a social development curriculum, focusing on social competence skills, and 2) a school/community intervention, consisting of the social development curriculum plus a school-wide climate and parent/community intervention. The control group received an attention-placebo. For boys, both programs significantly reduced violent behavior, provoking behavior, school delinquency, drug use, and recent sexual intercourse. The rate of condom use was increased among boys as well. The school/community intervention was significantly more effective than the curriculum-only intervention in reducing risk based on examination of a combined behavioral measure. There were no significant effects for girls. Flay, B.R., Gramlich, S., Segawa, E., Burns, J.L., and Holliday, M.Y. Effects of Two Prevention Programs on High Risk Behaviors among African American Youth. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 158, pp. 377-384, 2004.

One-Year Outcomes of The Coping Power Program

The Coping Power Program randomly assigned at-risk aggressive preadolescent boys during the transition from elementary school to middle school to receive the Coping Power child component, the Coping Power Program parent and child components, or a control condition. Results indicated that both Coping Power intervention conditions produced lower rates of covert delinquent behavior and of parent-rated substance use at the 1-year follow-up compared to the control group. Moreover, the intervention effects were most apparent for the combined Coping Power Program parent and child components. Boys also displayed teacher-rated behavioral improvements in school during the follow-up year, and these effects appeared to be primarily influenced by the Coping Power child component. Lochman, J.E. and Wells, K.C. The Coping Power Program for Preadolescent Aggressive Boys and Their Parents: Outcome Effects at the 1-Year Follow-Up. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(4), pp. 571-578, 2004.

Comparison of Telephone and In-Person Delivery of Prevention

This study assesses responses to a preventive intervention to reduce HIV risky behaviors and health practices among young people living with HIV (YPLH) in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York over 15 months. YPLH aged 16 to 29 years (n = 175; 26% black and 42% Latino; 69% gay men) were randomly assigned to a 3-module intervention involving 18 sessions delivered by telephone, in person, or a delayed-intervention condition. Intention-to-treat analyses found that the in-person intervention resulted in a significantly higher proportion of sexual acts protected by condoms both overall and with HIV-seronegative partners. Pre- and post-analyses of YPLH in the delayed-intervention condition alone found that YPLH tended to have fewer sexual partners, used fewer drugs, reported less emotional distress, and decreased their use of antiretroviral therapies. Prevention programs can be delivered in alternative formats while retaining efficacy. However, when YPLH are using hard drugs, drug treatment may be needed before delivery of preventive interventions. Rotheram-Borus, M.J., Swendeman, D., Comulada, W.S., Weiss, R.E., Lee, M. and Lightfoot, M. Prevention for Substance-Using HIV-Positive Young People: Telephone and In-Person Delivery. JAIDS, 37 (Suppl 2), pp. S68-S77, 2004.

School District Personnel Hold the Keys to Implementation of Effective Prevention

An important issue in drug abuse prevention programming is the relative roles of school district and school-level decision-makers in the implementation of effective substance use prevention curricula. Drawing on a "Site-Based Management" approach to effective decision-making, it was hypothesized that schools whose personnel played active decision-making roles would be more likely to implement effective curricula than those in which decision-making was the prerogative of school district personnel. Study data comprised 1,369 questionnaires completed by a representative national sample of both district-level prevention coordinators and middle school-based lead prevention teachers. From the perspective of the lead prevention teachers, the school district-level prevention coordinator was more influential than school staff in selecting effective prevention curricula. However, they did find some support for their hypothesis from the district-level informants, who indicated that community groups and advisory committees also play a modest role in the selection of such curricula. Ringwalt, C., Ennett, S.T., Vincus, A., Rohrbach, L.A. and Simons-Rudolph, A. Who's Calling the Shots?: Decision-Makers and the Adoption of Effective School-Based Substance Use Prevention Curricula. Journal of Drug Education, 34(1), pp. 19-31, 2004.

Adapting Prevention to Meet Student Needs

This study examines a variety of characteristics associated with schools, teachers, and the prevention curricula implemented to estimate the proportion of the nation's middle school teachers who adapt substance abuse curricula in response to their students' special problems or needs. Data were collected in 1999 from a representative sample of lead substance abuse prevention teachers in the nation's public and private schools. Almost 80% of respondents report adapting their prevention curricula in response to at least one of the dozen specified student problems and needs. The problems cited most frequently, (over 50% of respondents) were the needs of students who are sexually active or have discipline problems. The two features associated most strongly with adaptations were the recent training of the teacher in the curricula, and substance abuse prevention lessons that could readily be integrated into the school's overall curriculum. Curriculum developers need to recognize the frequency with which, and reasons for curriculum adaptation and include appropriate optional content that addresses students' needs. Ringwalt, C., Ennett, S.T., Vincus, A. and Simons-Rudolph, A. Students' Special Needs and Problems as Reason for the Adaptation of Substance Abuse Prevention Curricula in the Nation's Middle Schools. Prevention Science, 5(3), pp. 197-206, 2004.

Training Youth to Use Leisure Time Wisely Works

The ‘TimeWise: Learning Lifelong Leisure Skills' curriculum aims to increase positive use of free time, thereby mitigating/preventing the initiation of substance use. The intervention was delivered to 634 middle school youth in a rural area in eastern United States. Self-report data after one year indicate that students who received TimeWise reported less lack of motivation and more identified and subconscious forms of motivation. TimeWise students reported being better able to restructure boring situations into something more interesting; having higher levels of decision making skills, initiative, community awareness; and participating in new interests, sports, and nature-based activities. Caldwell, L.L., Baldwin, C.K., Walls, T., and Smith, E. Preliminary Effects of a Leisure Education Program to Promote Healthy Use of Free Time. Journal of Leisure Research, 36(3), pp. 310-335, 2004.

Effects of Dosage on Outcomes

The present study assessed the ability of the Early Risers "Skills for Success" program to maintain program effects one year post intervention. Participants were kindergarten and first grade children (N=327) who screened positive for aggressive behavior and were randomized to program and control conditions. Program children participated in two continuous years of active intervention followed by one year of no formal intervention activities. Following the active intervention phase, program children, compared to controls, showed significant gains in school adjustment and social competence, but not in academic achievement. At the one-year follow-up program effects were not maintained using intent-to-intervene analyses. Level-of-dosage analyses, however, revealed that there were significant relationships between children's level of participation and measures of their social competence, externalizing problems, and academic achievement. August, G.J., Lee, S.S., Bloomquist, M.L., Realmuto, G.M., and Hektner, J.M. Maintenance Effects of an Evidence-Based Prevention Innovation for Aggressive Children Living in Culturally Diverse, Urban Neighborhoods: The Early Risers Effectiveness Study. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 12(4), 2004.

Early Intervention Reduces Marijuana Use and Psychopathology in Recent Rape Victims

Nearly 700,000 adult women are raped annually although only one in seven reports the assault to police and receive forensic exams and other professional services. The forensic exam, nevertheless, provides a unique opportunity for a preventive intervention to aid women to cope with potential stress related to the rape-exam procedures and address potential post-rape psychopathology. The intervention implemented with 205 adolescent and adult (15 years and older) female rape victims involved a 17-minute videotape that both explains the forensic exam procedures and uses a cognitive-behavioral approach to reduce anxiety and subsequent PTSD versus standard post-rape treatment control. Sixty percent of the women provided 6-week follow up data. Results indicate that at 6-weeks post exam marijuana use was significantly lower in the video intervention group but that there were no significant differences in rates of abusing alcohol or other drugs. The data also found that the video intervention helped women with a prior assault more than those with no prior assault. Resnick, H., Acierno, R., Kilpatrick, D.G. and Holmes, M. Description of an Early Intervention to Prevent Substance Abuse and Psychopathology in Recent Rape Victims. Behavior Modification, 29(1), pp. 1-33, 2005.

Teaching Theory of Drug Action to Elementary School Children

Recent educational and developmental research suggests that children attempt from an early age to understand the world around them by formulating intuitive theories. The current investigation builds on this literature by examining (1) whether school-age children as young as 8 can learn a theory of drug action that explains the brain's role in mediating drug effects, and (2) whether a causally coherent version of the curriculum is more effective than a less coherent one in changing knowledge and beliefs about alcohol and drug effects, attitudes and intentions toward drug and alcohol use, and actual alcohol use over one year. Participants were 327 grade 3-6 students drawn from 17 classrooms in 3 Catholic schools in an ethnically diverse metropolitan area. Participating schools were chosen on the basis of their socioeconomic and racial diversity. Within each classroom students were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups each of which received one of three curricula developed for this project. Two curricula concerned alcohol and cocaine, and were administered to 110 students each, while the third, a control curriculum about diseases, was administered to 107 children. The "coherent curriculum" was designed to teach the elements of a scientific, brain-mediated theory of drug effects in a causally coherent sequence. The "less coherent curriculum" presented information identical to that in the coherent version; however, sections of the text were reordered so that the consequences of drug use for health and behavior were discussed before the drug's effects. Few differences were found between the two drug and alcohol curricula. However, compared to children receiving the control curriculum both treatment groups demonstrated greater understanding of the circulation of alcohol and cocaine throughout the body, the true long-term effects of these substances, and the stimulant effects of cocaine. Moreover, they had less positive attitudes and intentions toward cocaine. Sigelman, C. K., Rinehart, C. S., Sorongon, A. G., Bridges, L. J., and Wirtz, P. W. Teaching a Coherent Theory of Drug Action to Elementary School Children. Health Education Research, 19, pp. 501-513, 2004.

Infusion-LST Compared to LST as Usual

Findings from the first two years of a study to compare a standard Life Skills Training (LST) program with an infused (I-LST) approach was conducted in 9 small, rural school districts that were randomly assigned to LST, I-LST, or control conditions. Male and female subjects were in grade seven. The LST program significantly reduced alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, and inhalant use after one year for females, and the I-LST program significantly reduced smoking, binge drinking, and marijuana use for females. At the end of the second year the I-LST program continued to impact female smoking, but all other results were non-significant. There were no effects on males at either time point. Smith, E.A. Evaluation of Life Skills Training and Infused-Life Skills Training in a Rural Setting: Outcomes at Two Years. Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education, 48(1), pp. 51-70, 2004.

Cost Comparison of LST and Infusion-LST

A cost-effectiveness comparison of the Life Skills Training (LST) to a LST curriculum infusion approach (I-LST) was conducted. Male and female seventh graders from nine rural schools (2 intervention conditions and control) were followed for two years. After one year, significant effects were observed only for females on alcohol, marijuana, and inhalant use in LST condition and for tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use for I-LST females. After year two, only the I-LST program affected female smoking. Cost calculations for the two programs included expenditures for training and materials and estimates of teachers' salaries for the project period. Both programs were almost equally effective after one year, but LST was more cost-effective. I-LST cost more to implement, but sustained effects into year two and was therefore more cost-effective overall. Swisher, J. D. A Cost-Effectiveness Comparison of Two Approaches to Life Skills Training. Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education, 48(1) pp. 71-78, 2004.

The Importance of Family-based Prevention Interventions in Rural Areas

There are several reasons to promote the implementation of evidence-based family-focused interventions in rural, small town or micropolitan communities. One key reason is research demonstrating that youth problem behaviors are especially prevalent in rural areas and that these problems can be effectively reduced though family-focused programs. For example, studies have found that rural youth are involved in tobacco, alcohol, and illegal substance use at rates that often exceed those of youth living in urban and suburban communities (America's Children, 2000—Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2000; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1997; Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman, 2000, 2002). Further, earlier program evaluation research has demonstrated the effectiveness of several evidence-based family-focused programs among rural youth, including the reduction of substance use; related economic analyses also have shown that these programs are cost-beneficial. These programs focus on the enhancement of competencies related to reducing risk and increasing protective factors among families and youth. Meek, J., Lillehoj, C.J., Welsh, J. and Spoth, R. Rural Community Partnership Recruitment for an Evidence-based Family-focused Prevention Program: The PROSPER Project, Rural Mental Health, 29(2), pp. 23-28, 2004.

Predicting Marijuana Use Cessation 5 years after Continuation High School

Cessation from marijuana use five years after completion of continuation high school was predicted by social, attitude, intrapersonal, violence-related, drug use, and demographic baseline measures from 339 high risk teenage marijuana users. Young adult social roles were included as additional predictors. Quitting was defined as no use of marijuana in the last 30 days (42% of the sample at follow-up). Results indicate that baseline level of marijuana use, male gender, young adult marital status, and friends' marijuana use (marginal) remained significant direct predictors of quitting. These results suggest the need to reduce psychological dependence on marijuana and increase social unacceptability of marijuana use across genders to increase prevalence of quit attempts. Sussman, S. and Dent, C.W. Five-Year Prospective Prediction of Marijuana Use Cessation of Youth at Continuation High Schools. Addictive Behaviors, 29(6), pp. 1237-1243, 2004.

The Long-Term Negative Impact of High-Risk Peer Group Affiliations

Adolescents' self-identified peer group affiliation is associated with health risk behaviors such as involvement in substance use and violence. This prospective study examined the association between peer group self-identification during high school and psychosocial functioning five years later among a sample of continuation high school students (i.e., students attending alternative public schools). Participants were recruited as part of Project TND, a substance use prevention project conducted in 21 school districts from a five-county region of Southern California. The sample included 532 students, ranging in age from 19 to 24 years most of whom were male (57%) and half were Latino (50%). Participants named the peer group which they felt "most a part of." Responses were collapsed into four general group categories: high-risk youth, jocks-hotshots, regulars, and others. Results indicated that students who self-identified with high-risk peer groups while in continuation high school were most likely to report involvement in drug use and violence during young adulthood, and they were significantly less likely to have graduated from high school or secure stable employment. Sussman, S., Unger, J.B. and Dent, C.W. Peer Group Self-Identification among Alternative High School Youth: A Predictor of Their Psychosocial Functioning Five Years Later. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 4, pp. 9-25, 2004.

Links Found between Risk-Taking and Aggressive Behavior

This study examined the relationship between risk-taking, general acceptance of aggression, verbal harassment, and aggressive behavior in 7th and 8th grade middle school youth (N=1,440). Results indicated that higher levels of risk-taking predicted higher general acceptance of aggression and verbal harassment. There also was an interaction for aggressive behavior which indicated that except for African American youth, higher risk-taking was related to higher levels of violent behavior; for African American youth the highest levels of aggressive behavior occurred at moderate levels of risk-taking. Thus, the level of risk-taking is an important risk factor that needs to be taken into account both for attitudes toward aggression and aggressive behavior among rural youth. Swaim, R.C., Henry, K.L. and Baez, N.E. Risk-taking, Attitudes toward Aggression, and Aggressive Behavior among Rural Middle School Youth. Violence & Victims, 19, pp. 157-170, 2004.

Adolescent Depression and Suicide Risk Are Associated with Sex and Drug Use Behavior

Although both depression and suicide in adolescents have been associated with drug use and early sexual intercourse, the relationship has not been systematically studied in a nationally representative sample. Sixteen patterns of combined sex and drug use behaviors were obtained through analysis of responses to Wave I of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health conducted from September 1994 through December 1995. Analyses tested correlations between behavior patterns and current depression, serious suicidal ideation, and previous suicide attempt, controlling for gender, race/ethnicity, family structure, and parent education. Compared to youth who abstain from risk behaviors, involvement in any drinking, smoking, and/or sexual activity was associated with significantly increased chances of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts. These problems were highest among youth who engaged in illegal drug use. There were few differences between boys and girls who abstain from sex and drug behaviors. Girls were less likely than boys to engage in high-risk behaviors, but those who did tended to be more vulnerable to depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempt. Hallfors, D.D., Waller, M.W., Ford, C.A., Halpern, C.T., Brodish, P.H., and Iritani, B. Adolescent Depression and Suicide Risk - Association with Sex and Drug Behavior. Am J of Preventive Med., 27(3), pp. 224-231, 2004.

Early Screening is Effective for Externalizing Problems

Accurate early screening is a prerequisite for indicated interventions intended to prevent development of externalizing disorders and delinquent behaviors. Using data from the Fast Track longitudinal sample of 396 children from high-risk environments, assumptions about base rates were varied to examine effects of multiple-time-point and multiple-rater screening procedures, and considered the practical import of various levels of screening accuracy in terms of true and false positive rates and their potential costs and benefits. The results indicate that 1st grade single- and multiple-rater screening models effectively predicted externalizing behavior and delinquent outcomes in 4th and 5th grades. Thus while additional research is needed to determine true costs and benefits of early screening, early screening is justified. Hill, L.G., Lochman, J.E., Coie, J.D. and Greenberg, M.T. Effectiveness of Early Screening for Externalizing Problems: Issues of Screening Accuracy and Utility. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(5), pp. 809-820, 2004.

Effects of Good Inhibitory Control on Negative Emotions and Alcohol Use

Studies on the relation between negative affect and later alcohol use have provided mixed results. To disentangle the diverse elements of negative affect and explain these inconsistent findings some have examined the moderating role of good inhibitory control. This longitudinal investigation examined the independent relationships between three components of negative affect (i.e., depressed mood, fear, and anger) and alcohol use initiation in a sample of aggressive boys, as well as the moderating effect of good inhibitory control. Increased anger and decreased fearfulness were associated with an increased risk for alcohol use initiation only for boys with moderate to low levels of inhibitory control. However, depressed mood predicted alcohol use initiation for boys with good inhibitory control. Pardini, D., Lochman, J. and Wells, K. Negative Emotions and Alcohol Use Initiation in High-Risk Boys: The Moderating Effect of Good Inhibitory Control. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32(5), pp. 505-518, 2004.

Prediction of Violence Perpetration Among High-Risk Youth

A prospective study examined predictors of violence perpetration in emerging adulthood among high-risk adolescents using problem-behavior theory as a conceptual perspective and self-reported responses to questionnaires administered 5 years apart to 676 participants. Hard drug use, belief that hurting another's property while drunk was acceptable and high-risk group self-identification predicted later violence perpetration independent of baseline violence perpetration. Consistent with problem-behavior theory, personality, perceived environment, and behavior characteristics, beyond baseline violent behavior, predict risk for future violence perpetration in emerging adulthood; the effects of demographic variables are at best indirect. Sussman, S., Skara, S., Weiner, M.D., and Dent, C.W. Prediction of Violence Perpetration Among High-Risk Youth. American Journal of Health Behavior, 28(2), pp. 134-144, 2004.

Drug Use may be Mediated through Low Hostile Anger Control

The relationships among selected predictors of violence, including victimization, low conflict management efficacy, hostile anger and drug use were examined using data on 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade adolescents. The secondary analysis used a population-based, cross-sectional survey of health behaviors (N = 3,922). For each grade cohort, it was hypothesized that victimization and low conflict management efficacy would predict low hostile anger control, which would predict gateway drug use, and the subsequent development of hard drug use and violence. Overall model fit and the magnitude of specific paths were expected to increase across grades. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), results indicated acceptable model fit for 8th-grade (CFI = .95), 10th-grade (CFI = .93) and 12th-grade (CFI = .94) cohorts. Results suggest that the influence of relational victimization and conflict management efficacy on hard drug use may be mediated through low hostile anger control and gateway drug use. Weiner, M.D., Pentz, M.A., Skara, S.N., Li, C., Chou, C.P. and Dwyer, J.H. Relationship of Substance Use and Associated Predictors of Violence in Early, Middle, and Late Adolescence. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 13(4), pp. 97-117, 2004.

Perceived Life Chances and Alcohol Use

The relationship between low perceived chances for success in life and binge drinking was examined in a sample of economically disadvantaged, predominantly black and Hispanic student, urban adolescents (N = 774) from 13 inner-city schools. Subjects completed confidential questionnaires in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grades. Eight items measured students' estimation of achieving certain adaptive life goals. Students who reported that they typically drink five or more drinks per drinking occasion were identified as binge drinkers. Results indicated that rates of binge drinking increased and perceived life chances decreased for both boys and girls from the 7th to 9th grade. Moreover, higher perceived life chances in the 7th grade predicted less binge drinking in the 8th grade, whereas binge drinking in the 8th grade predicted lower perceived life chances in the 9th grade, controlling for change over time in both variables. Griffin, K.W., Botvin, G.J., Nichols, T.R. and Scheier, L.M. Low Perceived Chances for Success in Life and Binge Drinking among Inner-city Minority Youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 34, pp. 501-507, 2004.

Self-esteem and Alcohol Use

Prior studies have found inconsistent relationships between measures of self-concept and adolescent alcohol use. This study explored whether the link between various measures of self-concept and alcohol use depends on gender and whether negative rather than positive self-esteem (i.e., self-derogation) might be more useful in predicting alcohol use. Students (N = 1459) attending 22 middle and junior high schools in New York City completed surveys that included measures of efficacy, self-derogation, and alcohol use. Participants completed surveys at baseline, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up. Findings indicate that lower efficacy was related to greater self-derogation a year later across gender. Increased self-derogation predicted higher alcohol use for girls but not boys. These findings are congruent with a literature highlighting the importance of negative thoughts about the self in drinking behavior for women but not men. Epstein, J.A., Griffin, K.W. and Botvin, G.J. Efficacy, Self-derogation, and Alcohol Use among Inner-city Adolescents: Gender Matters. Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 33, pp. 159-166, 2004.

Influence of Parents on Child Anti-social Behavior

This study examined the unique influence of mothers and fathers on their children's antisocial behavior using a sample of 325 families with sixth grade children. Multiple-group comparisons were conducted to identify differences in the relationships for mothers and fathers with daughters versus sons. Results suggested that, while the relationships were often similar for both parents and for both daughters and sons, mothers and fathers uniquely influenced their child's antisocial behavior depending on the child's gender. Overall, cross-gender influence appeared to be particularly important for fathers' control of their daughters' antisocial behavior. Kosterman, R., Haggerty, K.P., Spoth, R. and Redmond, C. Unique Influence of Mothers and Fathers on their Children's Antisocial Behavior: A Social Development Perspective. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), pp. 762-778, 2004.

Does Perception of Behavior Affect Behavior?

This research examined whether parents' and children's perceptions have reciprocal self-fulfilling prophecy effects on each others' behavior. Mothers, fathers, and their adolescent children completed self-report surveys and engaged in videotaped dyadic interaction tasks. The surveys assessed parents' and children's perceptions of their own and the other's typical hostility and warmth. Observers coded the videotaped interactions to assess the actual hostility and warmth exhibited by mothers, fathers, and children. Data from 658 mother-child dyads were consistent with the conclusion that children had a self-fulfilling effect on their mothers' hostile behavior, but that mothers did not have a reciprocal self-fulfilling effect on their children's hostility. The data did not support the existence of self-fulfilling prophecies among the mother-child dyads with respect to warmth, or among the 576 father-child dyads for either the hostility- or warmth-relevant data. Madon, S., Guyll, M. and Spoth, R. The Self-fulfilling Prophecy as an Intra-family Dynamic, Journal of Family Psychology, 18(3), pp. 459-469, 2004.

Parent Disengagement and Deviant Peers Lead to Premature Adolescent Autonomy

Premature autonomy describes a developmental dynamic where parents of high-risk adolescents reduce their involvement and guidance when confronted with challenges of problem behavior and the influence of deviant friendships. This dynamic was tested on the sample of Oregon Youth Study boys (N = 206), whose family management practices and friendships were observed on videotaped interaction tasks. Latent growth curve modeling identified longitudinal trends between deviant friendship interactions and family management. Direct observations of deviant friendship process at age 14 were associated with degradation in family management during adolescence. A comparison of antisocial and well-adjusted boys clarified the observation that the parents of antisocial boys began early (i.e., around puberty) and continued to decrease family management compared to parents of well-adjusted boys who maintained high levels of family management through adolescence. In predicting late adolescent problem behavior, there was a statistically reliable interaction between family management degradation and deviant peer involvement in adolescence that supported the premature autonomy hypothesis. Those adolescent males who were involved in deviant friendships and whose parents decreased their family management were most likely to use marijuana and commit antisocial acts at age 18. This suggests developing preventive interventions to arrest the parent disengagement processes during the child's early adolescence. Dishion, T.J., Nelson, S.E. and Bullock, B.M. Premature Adolescent Autonomy: Parent Disengagement and Deviant Peer Process in the Amplification of Problem Behaviour. Journal of Adolescence, 27(5), pp. 515-530, 2004.

Ethnic Identity is Central to Success in Adolescents

This research studied the role of ethnic identity as a protective factor among European American (n = 77) and African American (n = 82) adolescents identified either as high risk or successful. Adolescents participated in a multi-method assessment of depression, internalizing and externalizing behaviors, competence, and academic achievement. The levels of ethnic identity were the same across ethnic groups but were higher among successful adolescents. Bivariate correlations revealed that ethnic identity was significantly associated with all measures of adjustment in the expected directions. As predicted, the associations between ethnicity and depression, total competence, and GPA were statistically higher among African American youth than for European Americans. Similar associations were found when comparing ethnic identity to a construct of socioeconomic disadvantage. These findings suggest that ethnic identity is central to the self-system and motivation for youth who develop in contexts that potentially undermine children's socioemotional adjustment. Yasui, M., Dorham, C.L., and Dishion, T.J. Ethnic Identity and Psychological Adjustment: A Validity Analysis for European American and African American Adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 19(6), pp. 807-825, 2004.

Early Identifiers of Later Risk for Depression

This study examined childhood behavior problems at ages 10 and 11 years as predictors of young adult depression, social phobia, and violence at age 21 years. Data were collected on 808 elementary school students from high-crime neighborhoods of Seattle. Reports of childhood behavior problems were obtained from parents and children in fall 1985 and from teachers in spring 1986. Follow-up reports of violence and DSM-III-R depression and social phobia were collected from 765 respondents using standard survey items and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule in 1996. The past-year prevalence of depressive episodes and social phobias were 20% and 17%, respectively. Several available measures of childhood behavior problems as reported by parents, teachers, and children predicted violence; the strongest positive predictor of young adult violence was self-reported conduct problems, whereas self-reported shyness inhibited later violence. Relatively few child behavioral problems predicted social phobia. Results showed that children who reported higher, relative to lower, levels of conduct problems were nearly four times more likely to experience a depressive episode in early adulthood. Mason, W.A., Kosterman, R., Hawkins, J.D., Herrenkohl, T.I., Lengua, L.J. and McCauley, E. Predicting Depression, Social Phobia, and Violence in Early Adulthood from Childhood Behavior Problems, Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 43(3), pp. 307-315, 2004.

A Nonverbal Test of Memory for Alcohol Commercials

There is suggestive evidence that televised alcohol commercials may affect the alcohol consumption of adolescents. However, it has been difficult to assess exposure to and memory of such ads because these complex everyday occurrences have numerous nonverbal, visual features that may not be completely assessed by eliciting verbal responses to them. This study investigated a nonverbal test of memory for alcohol commercials. Participants included 750 adolescents from 6 public middle and 3 public high schools who completed a nonverbal test of memory, tailored to detect prominent visual features of remembered alcohol ads. The results showed that independent judges reliably coded primary features of remembered advertisements along most dimensions, and the test met important criteria for validity in comparisons with other measures. Stacy, A.W., Pearce, S.G., Zogg, J.B., Unger, J., and Dent, C.W. A Nonverbal Test of Naturalistic Memory for Alcohol Commercials. Psychology and Marketing, 21, pp. 295-322, 2004.

Using Virtual Reality to Assess Adolescents' Social Competency

Over the decades many interventions have been aimed at improving adolescents' social competency skills in order to affect outcomes such as interpersonal violence and substance abuse. However, assessment of these skills has been limited to self-ratings or external ratings by teachers and parents and archival records. Responsive virtual human (RVH) technology is a rapidly advancing method for assessing technical and social competency skills. By allowing individuals to engage in seemingly real verbal discourse with virtual characters they are afforded a more realistic social encounter than less interactive paper or computer-based assessments. This study examined the psychometric properties of performance measures for three novel, interactive virtual reality vignette exercises developed to assess social competency skills of at-risk adolescents. Data for 18 performance measures were collected from 117 African-American male 15-17 year olds based on their interactions with a provocative virtual teenage character. Twelve of the 18 performance measures loaded on two factors corresponding to emotional control and interpersonal communication skills, providing support for their factorial validity. Overall, the study findings suggest that the virtual reality vignette exercises may represent a promising approach for assessing adolescents' social competency skills in the context of prevention research. Paschall, M.J., Fishbein, D.H., Hubal, R.C. and Eldreth, D. Psychometric Properties of Virtual Reality Vignette Performance Measures: A Novel Approach for Assessing Adolescents' Social Competency Skills. Health Education Research, 1-10, Advance Access published July 14, 2004.

Operationalizing and Analyzing Media Exposure

The ability of researchers to empirically test theories of media effects and to assess impact of communication campaigns depends on their ability to identify levels of exposure to the media or messages of interest. This paper critically examines strategies used to operationalize and analyze exposure, including some exposures which have not yet been widely used in the communication field. As communication research matures longitudinal designs and field experiments are necessary. In the realm of media campaigns rolling cross-sections and time series analyses also offer researchers the opportunity to evaluate campaign effects with precision previously unattainable and cross-over designs may increase the viability of quasi-experimental studies as approaches preferable to the more traditional cross-sectional surveys and small-scale experiments. Slater M.D., Operationalizing and Analyzing Exposure: The Foundation of Media Effects Research. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 81(1), pp. 168-183, Spring 2004.

Sensation Seeking, Alienation, and Victimization Moderate the Violent Media Content-Aggressiveness Relation

This study examines whether the relationship between teen use of violent media and aggressiveness is contingent on personality and situational variables. Concurrent effects are modeled in four waves of data from a national sample of students from 20 middle schools using multilevel analyses. Results indicate that the effect of violent media on aggression is more robust among students who report feelings of alienation from school and during times of increased peer victimization. Although overall consumption of violent media is associated with higher levels of aggression, a robust within individual effect also exists; that is, during times when a student is viewing elevated levels of violent media content relative to the student's own norms for use of such media, he or she is also more likely to demonstrate heightened levels of aggression. This relationship is more robust among students who are victimized by their peers and experiencing increased sensation seeking. Thus, socially adjusted youth may indulge in violent media content use with little risk; however, this is not the case for socially and dispositionally vulnerable teens or those going through particularly difficult times. Slater, M.D., Henry, K.L., Swaim, R.C. and Cardador, J.M. Vulnerable Teens, Vulnerable Times: How Sensation Seeking, Alienation, and Victimization Moderate the Violent Media Content-Aggressiveness Relation. Communication Research, 31, pp. 642-668, 2004.

Post-September 11 Increases in Substance Use Persist in Manhattan

Early analyses following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City showed an increase in cigarette, alcohol, and marijuana use. To determine whether these increases would persist, a random-digit dial phone survey was conducted to estimate the prevalence of increased substance use among residents of New York City six to nine months after the attacks. Among 1,570 adults, 9.9% reported an increase in smoking, 17.5% an increase in alcohol use, and 2.7% an increase in marijuana use compared to the month before September 11. These increases were comparable to increases reported in the first one to two months after September 11. Persons who increased use of cigarettes were more likely than those who did not to report symptoms consistent with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the past month (4.3% and 1.2% respectively). Depression was more common among those who increased use of cigarettes (14.6% and 5.2% respectively), alcohol (11.8% vs. 5.2%), and marijuana (34.1% vs. 5.3%). Among residents living in Manhattan below One Hundred Tenth Street, the prevalence of PTSD and depression declined by more than half in the first six months after September 11, while the increase in substance use did not decline substantially. These results suggest that the increase in substance use after a disaster may be a cause for public health concern in the long-term. Vlahov, D., Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H., Boscarino, J.A., Gold, J., Bucuvalas, M. and Kilpatrick, D. Consumption of Cigarettes, Alcohol, and Marijuana among New York City Residents Six Months After The September 11 Terrorist Attacks. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 30(2), pp. 385-407, 2004.

Manhattan Residents' Substance Abuse Increase Sustained After September 11 Attacks

This study compared reports of increased substance use in Manhattan 1 and 6 months after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Data from 2 random-digit-dial surveys conducted 1 and 6 months after September 11 showed that 30.8% and 27.3% of respondents, respectively, reported increased use of cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana. These sustained increases in substance use following the September 11 terrorist attacks suggest potential long-term health consequences as a result of disasters. Vlahov, D., Galea, S., Ahern, J., Resnick, H. and Kilpatrick D. Sustained Increased Consumption Of Cigarettes, Alcohol, And Marijuana Among Manhattan Residents After September 11, 2001. American Journal of Public Health, 94(2), pp. 253-254, 2004.


Research Findings

Program Activities

Extramural Policy and Review Activities

Congressional Affairs

International Activities

Meetings and Conferences

Media and Education Activities

Planned Meetings


Staff Highlights

Grantee Honors

In Memoriam

Archive Home | Accessibility | Privacy | FOIA (NIH) | Current NIDA Home Page
National Institutes of Health logo_Department of Health and Human Services Logo The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) , a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Questions? See our Contact Information. . The U.S. government's official web portal