Sex, temperament, and family context: how the interaction of early factors differentially predict adolescent alcohol use and are mediated by proximal adolescent factors.


Adolescent alcohol use is common and has serious immediate and long-term ramifications. While concurrent individual and context factors are robustly associated with adolescent alcohol use, the influence of early childhood factors, particularly in interaction with child sex, are less clear. Using a prospective community sample of 362 (190 girls), this study investigated sex differences in the joint influence of distal childhood and proximal adolescent factors on Grade 10 alcohol use. All risk factors and two-way early individual-by-context interactions, and interactions of each of these with child sex, were entered into the initial regression. Significant sex interactions prompted the use of separate models for girls and boys. In addition to the identification of early (family socioeconomic status, authoritative parenting style) and proximal adolescent (mental health symptoms, deviant friends) risk factors for both girls and boys, results highlighted important sex differences. In particular, girls with higher alcohol consumption at Grade 10 were distinguished by the interaction of early temperamental disinhibition and exposure to parental stress; boys with higher alcohol consumption at Grade 10 were distinguished primarily by early temperamental negative affect. Results have implications for the timing and type of interventions offered to adolescents.





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Publication Info

Burk, Linnea R, Jeffrey M Armstrong, H Hill Goldsmith, Marjorie H Klein, Timothy J Strauman, Phillip Costanzo and Marilyn J Essex (2011). Sex, temperament, and family context: how the interaction of early factors differentially predict adolescent alcohol use and are mediated by proximal adolescent factors. Psychol Addict Behav, 25(1). pp. 1–15. 10.1037/a0022349 Retrieved from

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Timothy J. Strauman

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

FOR POTENTIAL STUDENTS (fall 2024 class): 

Dr. Timothy Strauman and Dr. Ann Brewster will be seeking to admit a student for Fall 2024 who will be an important member of their collaborative projects. Dr. Brewster is an intervention scientist and a faculty member in Duke’s Social Science Research Institute. The collaborative projects focus on creating, testing, and implementing school-based therapeutic and preventive interventions for adolescents at risk for negative academic and mental health outcomes. We are partnering with the Durham Public Schools as well as with other local school districts, and Dr. Brewster has extensive experience and expertise in developing the partnerships, working with community members, and the intervention process itself. We are especially interested in applicants with experience in community-based interventions, with interests in adolescence, and with knowledge and experience working with both behavioral and neuroimaging data.

Professor Strauman's research focuses on the psychological and neurobiological processes that enable self-regulation, conceptualized in terms of a cognitive/motivational perspective, as well as the relation between self-regulation and affect. Particular areas of emphasis include: (1) conceptualizing self-regulation in terms of brain/behavior motivational systems; (2) the role of self-regulatory cognitive processes in vulnerability to depression and other disorders; (3) the impact of treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy and medication, on self-regulatory function and dysfunction in depression; (4) how normative and non-normative socialization patterns influence the development of self-regulatory systems; (5) the contributory roles of self-regulation, affect, and psychopathology in determining immunologically-mediated susceptibility to illness; (6) development of novel multi-component treatments for depression targeting self-regulatory dysfunction; (7) utilization of brain imaging techniques to test hypotheses concerning self-regulation, including the nature and function of hypothetical regulatory systems and characterizing the breakdowns in self-regulation that lead to and accompany depression.

Philip R. Costanzo

Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

Research Interests: Research interests include (1) The development of children's ideas and beliefs about the social environment. This includes an interest in the underlying cognitive processes that mediate social reasoning skills, the relationship between parental beliefs and values and children's social perceptions social competence and social rule acquisition and its relationship to social conformity. (2) The relationships between adult values and motivations and depressive states. Also, how social-cognitive biases pertinent to affective disorders develop and are socialized by parental norms and family systems properties. (3) Psychological and social concomitants of obesity, overeating, self-restrictive eating, anorexia and bulimia. Particularly concerned with the relationship between cultural and sex-role norms pertaining to women and the emergence of eating disorders.

Clinical Interests: Community-school consultation, group psychotherapy, psycho- and "socio"-therapy with troubled and troublesome children and their families, individual adult psychotherapy and therapeutic strategies for working with distressed eating-disordered clients.

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