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Etiology of Substance Use Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Emerging Findings From the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research

NCJ Number
Ralph E. Tarter Ph.D., Michael M. Vanyukov Ph.D.
Date Published
145 pages
The mission of the Center for Education and Drug Abuse Research (CEDAR) is to delineate the etiology of Substance Use Disorder (SUD); this monograph describes several facets of CEDAR's ongoing research program, which encompasses the measurement of substance use disorder liability and etiological mechanisms.
An introductory essay explains the theoretical and operational framework for CEDAR's research into the etiology of SUD, which is defined as "either abuse or dependence on any 1 of 11 classes of drugs according to the criteria set forth by the American Psychiatric Association." CEDAR has developed a detailed temporal assessment of substance involvement; a second essay describes these evaluation procedures. This is followed by a report on the methodology and findings of a study that designed and tested a multidimensional schema for the assessment of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug-use topology. Emerging evidence indicates that psychological dysregulation is an integral component of the liability for SUD; a report discusses the rationale underlying the Dysregulation Inventory, an instrument for measuring psychological dysregulation, along with the methods used in item selection and scale construction. Preliminary results regarding psychometric properties are presented. The validity of the Drug Use Screening Inventory, which is used for predicting DSM-III-R SUD is examined in another essay. Seven essays address issues pertinent to etiological mechanisms. Topics covered include the association between the dopamine receptor D5 gene and the liability to SUD in males; sex differences in cortisol level and neurobehavioral disinhibition in children of substance abusers; the role of sexual maturation and sensation-seeking in the adolescent children of substance-abusing parents; and the relationship between behavioral dysregulation in late childhood and cigarette smoking at age 16. Three essays address suicidality in the children of men with SUD; executive cognitive functioning, negative affectivity, and drug use in adolescent boys with and without a family history of a SUD; and the transmission of neglect in substance-abusing families. A concluding commentary is provided. A subject index