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Co Twins: A Twin Study of Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Use Development Leveraging Intensive Longitudinal Assessments

  • Goal:  Develop a fine-grained model of developmental change in key risk domains and their relations to substance use, including moderation by environmental context.
  • Theoretical Framework:  Dual systems model of adolescent risk behavior. The combination of high sensation seeking (bottom-up influences) and low levels of executive function (top-down control) puts adolescents at risk to use and misuse alcohol and other drugs. While this is clearly a developmental theory, no study to date has conducted intensive longitudinal assessments to characterize these developmental trends, their interrelationships, or their modulation by environmental circumstances, particularly in the young adult transition.
  • Measurement: 1,000 adolescent twins, in-person assessments of Substance use, executive functions, personality, psychopathology, peer and family context. A 2-year remote follow-up is utilized using a CoTwins app
  • Modeling: Substance use data: growth curve models, classical twin genetic and environmental decomposition, and co-twin control models GPS and smartphone data: derivation of instrument variables (e.g., moving out of parental home; starting new job); twin similarity in environment
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