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Alcohol Involvement, Adolescent Risk-Taking Examined

Addiction; ePub 2018 Nov 6; Ellingson, Corley, et al

Both the behavioral approach and behavioral control components of dual‐systems models explain alcohol involvement during adolescence and adulthood, and different measures of the same system assess separate risk processes. This according to a longitudinal study where behavioral approach and behavioral control were examined in relation to alcohol involvement, cross‐sectionally and prospectively. 846 general population twins were assessed twice (M=17.3 and 22.8 years‐old; female=51.4%; white=91.8%). Behavioral approach was measured by self‐report questionnaires of sensation seeking and subjective effects of alcohol. Behavioral control was measured by self‐reported lack of planning and 9 executive functioning (EF) tasks. Researchers found:

  • None of 36 interaction effects was statistically significant, suggesting dual systems are additively related to alcohol involvement.
  • During adolescence, only subjective effects explained independent variance in alcohol use disorder (AUD).
  • Moreover, measures of the same construct explained independent variance in alcohol involvement: For behavioral control, lack of planning and EF were associated with alcohol frequency in adolescence and AUD in emerging adulthood.
  • For behavioral approach, subjective effects were associated with all measures at both waves, and sensation seeking was associated with all measures in emerging adulthood.


Ellingson JM, Corley R, Hewitt JK, Friedman NP. A prospective study of alcohol involvement and the dual‐systems model of adolescent risk‐taking during late adolescence and emerging adulthood. [Published online ahead of print November 6, 2018]. Addiction. doi:10.1111/add.14489.

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