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Cannabis use has been linked to poorer episodic memory. However, little is known about whether depression and sex may interact as potential moderators of this association, particularly among adolescents. The current study addresses this by examining interactions between depression symptoms and sex on the association between cannabis use and episodic memory in a large sample of adolescents.
Cross-sectional data from 360 adolescents (Mage = 17.38, SD = .75) were analyzed at the final assessment wave of a two-year longitudinal study. We used the Drug Use History Questionnaire to assess for lifetime cannabis use, and the Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, Fourth edition to assess the number of depression symptoms in the past year. Subtests from the Wechsler Memory Scale, Fourth Edition and the California Verbal Learning Test, Second Edition were used to assess episodic memory performance.
The effect of the three-way interaction among cannabis use, depression symptoms, and sex did not have a significant impact on episodic memory performance. However, follow-up analyses revealed a significant effect of the two-way interaction of cannabis use and depression symptoms on episodic memory, such that associations between cannabis use and episodic memory were only significant at lower and average levels of depression symptoms.
Contrary to our hypotheses, we found that as depression symptoms increased, the negative association between cannabis use and episodic memory diminished. Given the use of a predominantly subsyndromic sample, future studies should attempt to replicate findings among individuals with more severe depression.
While many studies have identified risk and protective factors of substance use (SU), few have assessed the reciprocal associations of child conduct problems (CP) and parenting practices and behaviors in the prediction of SU across development. A greater understanding of how these factors relate over time is needed to improve the timing of targeted prevention efforts. This study examined how child CP, parenting behaviors, and parents’ own antisocial behavior relate from preschool to adolescence and eventuate in SU. Participants included 706 youth (70.6% male; 89.7% white) enrolled in the Michigan Longitudinal Study. Data from waves 1 (ages 3–5), 2 (ages 6–8), 3 (ages 9–11), 4 (ages 12–14), and 5 (ages 15–17) were included. A random intercept cross-lagged panel model (RI-CLPM) examined reciprocal associations between parenting practices, parents’ antisocial behavior, and child CP over time (waves 1–4) and how these factors contribute to adolescent alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use (wave 5). At the within-person level, negative parenting and parents’ own antisocial behavior had a strong influence in late childhood/early adolescence. Only child CP emerged as a significant predictor of SU. Results highlight the importance of early intervention and the potential influence of parenting and child factors throughout development in the prevention of SU.
Reduced motivation is often noted as a consequence of cannabis use. However, previous work has yielded mixed results and focused largely on adults. To address these limitations, this study examined longitudinal associations between cannabis use and self-reported motivation in a large adolescent sample.
Participants were 401 adolescents aged 14–17 at baseline who completed five bi-annual assessments. We assessed motivation at three timepoints using two self-report questionnaires: the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the Motivation and Engagement Scale (disengagement, persistence, planning, self-efficacy, and valuing school subscales). Controlling for relevant covariates, we used latent growth curve modeling to characterize patterns of cannabis use and motivation over time, examining bidirectional influences between these processes.
On average, adolescent cannabis use frequency increased significantly over time. The disengagement and planning facets of motivation also increased significantly over time, whereas other aspects of motivation remained stable. At baseline, greater cannabis use was associated with greater disengagement, lower planning, and lower valuing of school. Greater baseline cannabis use also predicted lesser increases in disengagement over time. After controlling for the effect of sex, age, depression, and use of alcohol and nicotine, only the baseline association between cannabis use and valuing school remained significant.
Our results do not support a prospective link between cannabis use and reduced motivation among adolescents. Although most observed associations were accounted for by covariates, greater cannabis use was cross-sectionally associated with lower perceived value of school, which may contribute to poorer educational and later life outcomes.
Objective: Relative to the vast literature that employs measures of decision-making (DM), rigorous examination of their psychometric properties is sparse. This study aimed to determine whether three measures of DM assess the same construct, and to measure invariance of this construct across relevant covariates. Method: Participants were 372 adolescents at risk of escalation in cannabis use. DM was assessed via four indices from the Cups Task, Game of Dice Task (GDT), and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT). We used confirmatory factor analysis to assess unidimensionality of the DM construct, and moderated nonlinear factor analysis (MNLFA) to examine its measurement invariance. Results: The unidimensional model of DM demonstrated good fit. MNLFA results revealed that sex influenced mean DM scores, such that boys had lower risk-taking behaviors. There was evidence of differential item functioning (DIF), such that IQ and age moderated the IGT intercept and GDT factor loading, respectively. Significant effects were retained in the final model, which produced participant-specific DM factor scores. These scores showed moderate stability over time. Conclusions: Indices from three DM tasks loaded significantly onto a single factor, suggesting that these DM tasks assess a single underlying construct. We suggest that this construct represents the ability to make optimal choices that maximize rewards in the presence of risk. Our final DM factor accounts for DIF caused by covariates, making it comparable across adolescents with different characteristics. (JINS, 2019, 25, 661–667)
Callous-unemotional (CU) traits are critical to developmental, diagnostic, and clinical models of antisocial behaviors (AB). However, assessments of CU traits within large-scale longitudinal and neurobiologically focused investigations remain remarkably sparse. We sought to develop a brief measure of CU traits using items from widely administered instruments that could be linked to neuroimaging, genetic, and environmental data within already existing datasets and future studies.
Data came from a large and diverse sample (n = 4525) of youth (ages~9–11) taking part in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. Moderated nonlinear factor analysis was used to assess measurement invariance across sex, race, and age. We explored whether CU traits were distinct from other indicators of AB, investigated unique links with theoretically-relevant outcomes, and replicated findings in an independent sample.
The brief CU traits measure demonstrated strong psychometric properties and evidence of measurement invariance across sex, race, and age. On average, boys endorsed higher levels of CU traits than girls and CU traits were related to, yet distinguishable from other indicators of AB. The CU traits construct also exhibited expected associations with theoretically important outcomes. Study findings were also replicated across an independent sample of youth.
In a large, multi-site study, a brief measure of CU traits can be measured distinctly from other dimensions of AB. This measure provides the scientific community with a method to assess CU traits in the ABCD sample, as well as in other studies that may benefit from a brief assessment of CU.
Research consistently demonstrates that common polymorphic variation in monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) moderates the influence of childhood maltreatment on later antisocial behavior, with growing evidence that the “risk” allele (high vs. low activity) differs for females. However, little is known about how this Gene × Environment interaction functions to increase risk, or if this risk pathway is specific to antisocial behavior. Using a prospectively assessed, longitudinal sample of females (n = 2,004), we examined whether changes in emotional reactivity (ER) during adolescence mediated associations between this Gene × Environment and antisocial personality disorder in early adulthood. In addition, we assessed whether this putative risk pathway also conferred risk for borderline personality disorder, a related disorder characterized by high ER. While direct associations between early maltreatment and later personality pathology did not vary by genotype, there was a significant difference in the indirect path via ER during adolescence. Consistent with hypotheses, females with high-activity MAOA genotype who experienced early maltreatment had greater increases in ER during adolescence, and higher levels of ER predicted both antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder symptom severity. Taken together, findings suggest that the interaction between MAOA and early maltreatment places women at risk for a broader range of personality pathology via effects on ER.
Cannabis use has been linked to impairments in neuropsychological functioning across a large and continually expanding body of research. Yet insight into underlying causal relations remains limited due to the historically cross-sectional nature of studies in this area. Recently, however, studies have begun to use more informative design strategies to delineate these associations. The aim of this article is to provide a critical evaluation and review of research that uses longitudinal designs to examine the link between cannabis use and neuropsychological functioning. In summarizing the primary findings across these studies, this review suggests that cannabis use leads to neuropsychological decline. However, across most studies, these associations were modest, were present only for the group with the heaviest cannabis use, and were often attenuated (or no longer significant) after controlling for potential confounding variables. Future studies with neuropsychological data before and after initiation of cannabis use, along with careful measurement and control of “shared risk factors” between cannabis use and poorer neuropsychological outcomes, are needed to better understand who, and under what conditions, is most vulnerable to cannabis-associated neuropsychological decline. (JINS, 2017, 23, 893–902)
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