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Substance dependence and externalizing psychopathology in adolescent boys with small, average, or large P300 event-related potential amplitude

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1999

SCOTT R. CARLSON
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
JOANNA KATSANIS
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
WILLIAM G. IACONO
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
AMY K. MERTZ
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
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Abstract

To determine if the P300 component of the event-related potential indexes risk for substance use and related disorders, we presented a community sample of 377 16–18-year-old males a visual oddball task and selected 31 subjects with the smallest and 31 subjects with the largest P300 amplitudes. An additional 31 subjects whose amplitudes fell in the middle of the amplitude distribution were assigned to the average group. The small and average amplitude groups were more likely to have alcohol dependence and more symptoms of alcohol dependence than the large amplitude subjects. The small amplitude group had more symptoms of illicit drug dependence than the other groups. There was also a significantly larger proportion of subjects with externalizing disorders in the small amplitude group than in the large P300 group. These findings suggest that P300 amplitude may index a spectrum of risk for disinhibited psychopathology.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Society for Psychophysiological Research

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