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Addict Behav. 2010 Mar;35(3):286-9. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.10.014. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Decision-making and facial emotion recognition as predictors of substance-use initiation among adolescents.

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  • 1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


This 4-year longitudinal study examined whether performance on a decision-making task and an emotion-processing task predicted the initiation of tobacco, marijuana, or alcohol use among 77 adolescents. Of the participants, 64% met criteria for an externalizing behavioral disorder; 33% did not initiate substance use; 13% used one of the three substances under investigation, 18% used two, and 36% used all three. Initiation of substance use was associated with enhanced recognition of angry emotion, but not with risky decision-making. In conclusion, adolescents who initiate drug use present vulnerability in the form of bias towards negative emotion but not toward decisions that involve risk.

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