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Addict Behav. 2010 Dec;35(12):1148-51. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2010.07.005. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Early temperament, propensity for risk-taking and adolescent substance-related problems: a prospective multi-method investigation.

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School of Social Work, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ 85004-0689, United States.


One hundred thirty seven adolescents (M=15.3 yrs, SD=1.0 yr, n=72 girls) were recruited into temperament groups when they were 4 months of age based on reactivity to novel auditory/visual stimuli (Fox, Henderson, Rubin, Calkins, & Schmidt, 2001). Behavioral inhibition was observed across infancy (14 and 24 months). Additionally, self-reported substance-related problems and behavioral risk-taking was assessed during adolescence. High behavioral inhibition increased risk for substance-related problems among boys, whereas high behavioral inhibition protected against substance-related problems among girls, B=-1.18, SE=.48, 95% CI=-2.13 to -.24; p<.05. Additionally, high behavioral inhibition protected lower risk-taking children from adolescent substance-related problems whereas high behavioral inhibition increased risk for substance-related problems among higher risk-taking children, B=.04, SE=.02, 95% CI=.00 to .08. Findings from this prospective, multi-informant, longitudinal study suggest that risk-taking and gender may interact with temperamental traits to place adolescents at differential risk for substance-related related behavior problems.

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