NRSA Fellowship for Atkinson: Early Environmental Risk for the Development of Urgency and Subsequent Problem Drinking

Grants and Contracts Details


Early environmental risk for the development of urgency and subsequent problem drinking Project Abstract The proposed study aims to investigate, longitudinally, childhood negative emotion socialization as a risk factor for the development of urgency (the tendency to act rashly when experiencing strong emotions) and subsequent problem drinking in adolescents. Identifying potentially modifiable antecedents of urgency is important because a large body of literature has implicated urgency in the risk process for adolescent problematic drinking (as well as other impulsigenic behaviors such as bulimic behavior, risky sex, and gambling) (Berg et al., 2016; Coskunpinar et al., 2013; Fischer et al., 2008; Stautz & Cooper, 2013). Adolescent drinking is associated with numerous public health harms including physical safety risks, increased risk for psychiatric disorder, increases in maladaptive personality traits, and increased risk for premature death (Birkley et al., 2015; De Bellis et al., 2000; Hingson & Zha, 2006; Kaminer, 2016; Marshall, 2014; Guller & Smith, 2015). The relationship between urgency and problem drinking reciprocal such that increases in each factor precipitate increases in the other (Riley et al, 2016). Though the relationship between urgency and problem drinking has been studied extensively, little is known about the etiology of urgency itself. Cyders and Smith (2008) proposed a developmental model of urgency in which childhood temperament and environmental factors increase risk for urgency, but only temperament has been examined in the literature (Waddell et al., 2021). Hersh and Hussong (2009) identified a significant relationship between negative parental emotion socialization and increased substance use in adolescence and, in our own work, we found cross-sectional associations consistent with the hypothesis that urgency mediates the predictive influence of negative emotion socialization on adolescent drinking (Atkinson et al., under review). To date, no studies have examined, longitudinally, the relationship between childhood negative emotion socialization, urgency, and subsequent problem drinking. The research component of this proposal involves a two-wave longitudinal design to (a) test whether negative emotion socialization predicts increases in urgency, (b) examine the possibility that negative emotion socialization predicts problem drinking, mediated by urgency, and (c) examine whether these relationships are invariant by race and gender, in a sample of 9th grade students. Identifying environmental risk factors for the development of urgency will provide clear targets for early intervention and prevention efforts: interrupting the development of urgency is likely to reduce risk for problem drinking and related behaviors. The training component of this proposal includes (1) the execution and management of a longitudinal study in a public school setting, including data collection, liaising with school officials, and follow-up; (2) development of complex statistical analytic skills; (3) further advanced training in research ethics; (4) preparation of research reports for publication; (5) presenting original research at international scientific meetings; and (6) mentoring junior graduate students and undergraduates.
Effective start/end date4/24/224/23/23


  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: $46,752.00


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