Altered developmental trajectories for impulsivity and sensation seeking among adolescent substance users

Nora E. Charles, Stacy R. Ryan, Bethany Cara Bray, Charles W. Mathias, Ashley Acheson, Donald M. Dougherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A number of studies have associated impulsivity and sensation seeking with level of substance use and risk for developing a substance use disorder. These relationships may be particularly apparent during adolescence, when developmental changes in impulsivity and sensation seeking occur at the same time as increased opportunities for substance use. To examine this, the current study measured impulsivity and sensation seeking from pre-adolescence to mid-adolescence in a sample of youth, the majority of whom were identified as being at risk for developing a substance use disorder based on their family history of substance use disorders. Youth were separated into those who did (n = 117) and did not (n = 269) initiate substance use by mid-adolescence. Results showed that substance users were more impulsive and more sensation seeking during pre-adolescence, prior to any significant substance use, and that greater sensation seeking in pre-adolescence was related to heavier substance use by mid-adolescence. In addition, developmental trajectories for substance-using youth showed a greater increase in sensation seeking but a more modest decrease in impulsivity from pre-adolescence to mid-adolescence. Taken together, these results indicate that increased impulsivity and sensation seeking is apparent in adolescent substance users as early as pre-adolescence, that the difference between substance users and non-users becomes larger across early adolescence as their developmental trajectories diverge, and that greater sensation seeking in pre-adolescence may predict increased substance use by mid-adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Volume60
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

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Impulsive Behavior
Trajectories
Substance-Related Disorders

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Charles, N. E., Ryan, S. R., Bray, B. C., Mathias, C. W., Acheson, A., & Dougherty, D. M. (2016). Altered developmental trajectories for impulsivity and sensation seeking among adolescent substance users. Addictive Behaviors, 60, 235-241. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.04.016
Charles, Nora E. ; Ryan, Stacy R. ; Bray, Bethany Cara ; Mathias, Charles W. ; Acheson, Ashley ; Dougherty, Donald M. / Altered developmental trajectories for impulsivity and sensation seeking among adolescent substance users. In: Addictive Behaviors. 2016 ; Vol. 60. pp. 235-241.
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Altered developmental trajectories for impulsivity and sensation seeking among adolescent substance users. / Charles, Nora E.; Ryan, Stacy R.; Bray, Bethany Cara; Mathias, Charles W.; Acheson, Ashley; Dougherty, Donald M.

In: Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 60, 01.09.2016, p. 235-241.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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