Savolainen partners with researcher from Boys Town for National Institute of Drug Abuse grant
Professor Jukka Savolainen and W. Alex Mason (Boys Town) were recently awarded research funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for their study Role of Childhood Cumulative Risk in Substance Misuse and Co-occuring Problems. The amount of the award was $682,934, which will be disbursed over the three year duration of the project. A brief description of the proposed study can be found below.
Substance misuse is a prevalent public health concern, and substance misuse comorbidity is associated with heightened impairment compared to singular problems. Vulnerability for substance misuse is highest among youth who experience multiple contextual risks, such as birth-related risks and socioeconomic disadvantage, during early development. However, there are significant gaps in knowledge about the associations of cumulative contextual risk with substance misuse. Cumulative risk often has been studied as a static phenomenon, therefore the degree to which such risk accumulates both within and across time is unknown. Moreover, research in the cumulative risk tradition typically has examined substance misuse as a singular outcome, yet substance misuse often co-occurs with externalizing and internalizing problems. Importantly, potential mediating mechanisms and moderating influences infrequently have been considered in analyses of cumulative risk effects on substance misuse, and gender moderation rarely has been tested. This study will address these gaps by examining cumulative contextual risk both within and across time during early development in relation to substance misuse and co-occurring externalizing and internalizing problems in adolescence and early adulthood (Aim 1). Social developmental mediators will be examined as intervening mechanisms (Aim 2a) and tests of social developmental moderators hypothesized to buffer risk (Aim 2b) will be conducted using existing longitudinal data from the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort Study (NFBCS). Guided by the social development model (SDM), the central hypotheses are that there will be positive associations of cumulative risk with adolescent and young adult substance misuse and co-occurring problems, and that those associations will be mediated through SDM risk processes; SDM protective factors will serve as buffering moderators. Gender differences also will be explored.
Story published 08/2014