How do parents, peers, and neurobiological sensitivity influence adolescents’ substance use problems? Adolescent substance use is influenced by biological and social processes. While past research finds that adolescents’ relationships with their parents and peers play a role in their consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, less is known about the influence of neurobiology. Dr. Guyer will use her William T. Grant Scholars award to study these issues among Mexican American youth. She will (1) examine how parent and peer relationships and neurobiology relate to substance use in Mexican American adolescents, (2) identify characteristics of these social relationships that are most sensitive to neurobiology, and (3) evaluate how risk and resilience processes involving these social relationships and neurobiology in mid-adolescence influence substance use in adulthood. The sample consists of 100 15-year-old adolescents of Mexican origin and their parents in Sacramento and Woodland, California. The settings include participants’ families and peer groups. A subsample of youth will be recruited from the California Families Project, a larger 10-year longitudinal study. The full study and this subsample include two cohorts of youth. Data are collected annually when youth are in the 5th to 12th grades (beginning in 2006 for the first cohort and 2007 for the second cohort). Neuroimaging data on brain structure and function will be collected via fMRI scans when youth are 15 years old. Parenting measures will be completed by mothers, fathers, and adolescents; peer data will come from adolescents’ reports of their peers; and substance use will be assessed using questionnaires completed by adolescents and their mothers.
How do parents, peers, and neurobiological sensitivity influence adolescents’ substance use problems?