Current cognitive-motivational addiction theories propose that prioritizing appetitive, reward-related information (attentional bias) plays a vital role in substance abuse behavior. Previous cross-sectional research has shown that adolescent substance use is related to reward-related attentional biases. The present study was designed to extend these findings by testing whether these reward biases have predictive value for adolescent substance use at three-year follow-up. Participants (N = 657, mean age = 16.2 yrs at baseline) were a sub-sample of Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a large longitudinal community cohort study. We used a spatial orienting task as a behavioral index of appetitive-related attentional processes at baseline and a substance use questionnaire at both baseline and three years follow-up. Bivariate correlational analyses showed that enhanced attentional engagement with cues that predicted potential reward and nonpunishment was positively associated with substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis) three years later. However, reward bias was not predictive of changes in substance use. A post-hoc analysis in a selection of adolescents who started using illicit drugs (other than cannabis) in the follow-up period demonstrated that stronger baseline attentional engagement toward cues of nonpunishment was related to a higher level of illicit drug use three years later. The finding that reward bias was not predictive for the increase in substance use in adolescents who already started using substances at baseline, but did show prognostic value in adolescents who initiated drug use in between baseline and follow-up suggests that appetitive bias might be especially important in the initiation stages of adolescent substance use.
Background. With psychopathology rising during adolescence and evidence suggesting that adult mental health burden is often due to disorders beginning in youth, it is important to investigate the epidemiology of adolescent mental disorders. Method. We analysed data gathered at ages 11 (baseline) and 19 years from the population-based Dutch TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS) study. At baseline we administered the Achenbach measures (Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self-Report) and at age 19 years the World Health Organization's Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) to 1584 youths. Results. Lifetime, 12-month and 30-day prevalences of any CIDI-DSM-IV disorder were 45, 31 and 15%, respectively. Half were severe. Anxiety disorders were the most common but the least severe whereas mood and behaviour disorders were less prevalent but more severe. Disorders persisted, mostly by recurrence in mood disorders and chronicity in anxiety disorders. Median onset age varied substantially across disorders. Having one disorder increased subjects' risk of developing another disorder. We found substantial homotypic and heterotypic continuity. Baseline problems predicted the development of diagnosable disorders in adolescence. Non-intact families and low maternal education predicted externalizing disorders. Most morbidity concentrated in 5-10% of the sample, experiencing 34-55% of all severe lifetime disorders. Conclusions. At late adolescence, 22% of youths have experienced a severe episode and 23% only mild episodes. This psychopathology is rather persistent, mostly due to recurrence, showing both monotypic and heterotypic continuity, with family context affecting particularly externalizing disorders. High problem levels at age 11 years are modest precursors of incident adolescent disorders. The burden of mental illness concentrates in 5-10% of the adolescent population.
Background. Given the negative consequences of early alcohol use for health and social functioning, it is essential to detect children at risk of early drinking. The aim of this study is to determine predictors of early alcohol use that can easily be detected in Preventive Child Healthcare (PCH). Methods. We obtained data from the first two waves on 1261 Dutch adolescents who participated in TRAILS (TRacking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey) at ages 10-14 years and from the PCH records regarding ages 4-10 years. Early adolescence alcohol use (age 10-14 years) was defined as alcohol use at least once at ages 10-12 years (wave 1) and at least once in the previous 4 weeks at ages 12-14 years (wave 2). Predictors of early alcohol use concerned parent and teacher reports at wave 1 and PCH registrations, regarding the child's psychosocial functioning, and parental and socio-demographic characteristics. Results. A total of 17.2% of the adolescents reported early alcohol use. Predictors of early alcohol use were teacher-reported aggressive behaviour [odds ratios (OR); 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.86; 1.11-3.11], being a boy (OR 1.80, 95%-CI 1.31-2.56), being a non-immigrant (OR 2.31, 95%CI 1.05-5.09), and low and middle educational level of the father (OR 1.71, 95%CI 1.12-2.62 and OR 1.77, 95%CI 1.16-2.70, respectively), mutually adjusted. Conclusion. A limited set of factors was predictive for early alcohol use. Use of this set may improve the detection of early adolescence alcohol use in PCH.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.