Infusing neuroscience into the study and prevention of drug misuse and co-occurring aggressive behavior

Diana H Fishbein, Ralph Tarter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The etiology of behavioral precursors to substance misuse and aggression is viewed from the perspective of a developmental, multifactorial model of complex disorders. Beginning at conception, genetic and environmental interactions have potential to produce a sequence of behavioral phenotypes during development that bias the trajectory toward high-risk outcomes. One pathway is theorized to emanate from a deviation in neurological development that predisposes children to affective and cognitive delays or impairments that, in turn, generate dysregulatory behaviors. The plasticity of these neurobiological systems is highly relevant to the prevention sciences; their functions are reliant upon environmental inputs and can be altered, for better or for worse, contingent upon the nature of the inputs. Thus, social contextual factors confer significant influence on the development of this neural network and behavioral outcomes by increasing risk for, or protecting1 against, dysregulatory outcomes. A well-designed intervention can exploit the brain's plasticity by targeting biological and social factors at sensitive time points to positively influence emergent neurobiological functions and related behaviors. Accordingly, prevention research is beginning to focus on perturbations in developmental neural plasticity during childhood that increase the likelihood of risky behaviors and may also moderate intervention effects on behavior. Given that the more complex features of neurobiological functions underlying drug misuse and aggression (e.g., executive cognitive function, coping skills, affect regulation) do not coalesce until early adulthood when prefrontal-limbic brain networks consolidate, it is critical that mechanisms underlying developmental risk factors are identified. An empirically driven prevention approach, thus, may benefit from consideration of (i) the type, effect, and developmental timing of the environmental impact on the brain, and (ii) the type and effect on brain function, and developmental timing of the intervention. This translational approach promises to eventually offer some direction for the design of effective interventions to prevent drug misuse and concomitant aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Volume44
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 22 2009

Fingerprint

aggressive behavior
Neurosciences
neurosciences
Aggression
drug
brain
aggression
Brain
Pharmaceutical Preparations
social factors
Neuronal Plasticity
Psychological Adaptation
Executive Function
Biological Factors
Child Development
biological factors
Cognition
etiology
neural network
adulthood

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

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abstract = "The etiology of behavioral precursors to substance misuse and aggression is viewed from the perspective of a developmental, multifactorial model of complex disorders. Beginning at conception, genetic and environmental interactions have potential to produce a sequence of behavioral phenotypes during development that bias the trajectory toward high-risk outcomes. One pathway is theorized to emanate from a deviation in neurological development that predisposes children to affective and cognitive delays or impairments that, in turn, generate dysregulatory behaviors. The plasticity of these neurobiological systems is highly relevant to the prevention sciences; their functions are reliant upon environmental inputs and can be altered, for better or for worse, contingent upon the nature of the inputs. Thus, social contextual factors confer significant influence on the development of this neural network and behavioral outcomes by increasing risk for, or protecting1 against, dysregulatory outcomes. A well-designed intervention can exploit the brain's plasticity by targeting biological and social factors at sensitive time points to positively influence emergent neurobiological functions and related behaviors. Accordingly, prevention research is beginning to focus on perturbations in developmental neural plasticity during childhood that increase the likelihood of risky behaviors and may also moderate intervention effects on behavior. Given that the more complex features of neurobiological functions underlying drug misuse and aggression (e.g., executive cognitive function, coping skills, affect regulation) do not coalesce until early adulthood when prefrontal-limbic brain networks consolidate, it is critical that mechanisms underlying developmental risk factors are identified. An empirically driven prevention approach, thus, may benefit from consideration of (i) the type, effect, and developmental timing of the environmental impact on the brain, and (ii) the type and effect on brain function, and developmental timing of the intervention. This translational approach promises to eventually offer some direction for the design of effective interventions to prevent drug misuse and concomitant aggression.",
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Infusing neuroscience into the study and prevention of drug misuse and co-occurring aggressive behavior. / Fishbein, Diana H; Tarter, Ralph.

In: Substance Use and Misuse, Vol. 44, No. 9-10, 22.12.2009.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - Tarter, Ralph

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