Matching Items (30)
- All Subjects: psychology
- Creators: Lemery-Chalfant, Kathryn
The present study utilized longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (n=254, 52.8% female, 47.2% children of alcoholics, 74% non-Hispanic Caucasian) to test questions concerning the effects of genetic risk, parental knowledge, and peer substance use on emerging adult substance use disorders (SUDs). Specifically, this study examined whether parental knowledge and peer substance use mediated the effects of parent alcohol use disorder (AUD) and genetic risk for behavioral undercontrol on SUD. The current study also examined whether genetic risk moderated effects of parental knowledge and peer substance use on risk for SUD. Finally, this study examined these questions over and above a genetic "control" which explained a large proportion of variance in the outcome, thereby providing a stricter test of environmental influences.
Analyses were performed in a path analysis framework. To test these research questions, the current study employed two polygenic risk scores. The first, a theory-based score, was formed using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from receptor systems implicated in the amplification of positive effects in the presence of new/exciting stimuli and/or pleasure derived from using substances. The second, an empirically-based score, was formed using a data-driven approach that explained a large amount of variance in SUDs. Together, these scores allowed the present study to test explanations for the relations among parent AUD, parental knowledge, peer substance use, and SUDs.
Results of the current study found that having parents with less knowledge or an AUD conferred greater risk for SUDs, but only for those at higher genetic risk for behavioral undercontrol. The current study replicated research findings suggesting that peer substance use mediated the effect of parental AUD on SUD. However, it adds to this literature by suggesting that some mechanism other than increased behavioral undercontrol explains relations among parental AUD, peer substance use, and emerging adult SUD. Taken together, these findings indicate that children of parents with AUDs comprise a particularly risky group, although likelihood of SUD within this group is not uniform. These findings also suggest that some of the most important environmental risk factors for SUDs exert effects that vary across level of genetic propensity.
Stress and poor physical and mental health among postpartum Mexican American women: a test of heart rate variability in promoting resilience
Low-income Mexican American women face significant risk for poor health during the postpartum period. Chronic stressors are theorized to negatively impact mental and physical health outcomes. However, physiological factors associated with increased self-regulatory capacity, such as resting heart rate variability, may buffer the impact of stress. In a sample of 322 low-income Mexican American women (mother age 18-42; 84% Spanish-speaking; modal family income $10,000-$15,000), the interactive influence of resting heart rate variability and three chronic prenatal stressors (daily hassles, negative life events, economic stress) on maternal cortisol output, depressive symptoms, and self-rated health at 12 weeks postpartum was assessed. The hypothesized interactive effects between resting heart rate variability and the chronic prenatal stressors on the health outcomes were not supported by the data. However, results showed that a higher number of prenatal daily hassles was associated with increased postpartum depressive symptoms, and a higher number of prenatal negative life events was associated with lower postpartum cortisol output. These results suggest that elevated chronic stress during the prenatal period may increase risk for poor health during the postpartum period.
Serotonin functioning and adolescents' alcohol use: a genetically informed study examining mechanisms of risk
The current study utilized data from two longitudinal samples to test mechanisms in the relation between a polygenic risk score indexing serotonin functioning and alcohol use in adolescence. Specifically, this study tested whether individuals with lower levels of serotonin functioning as indexed by a polygenic risk score were vulnerable to poorer self-regulation, and whether poorer self-regulation subsequently predicted the divergent outcomes of depressive symptoms and aggressive/antisocial behaviors. This study then examined whether depressive symptoms and aggressive/antisocial behaviors conferred risk for later alcohol use in adolescence, and whether polygenic risk and effortful control had direct effects on alcohol use that were not mediated through problem behaviors. Finally, the study examined the potential moderating role of gender in these pathways to alcohol use.
Structural equation modeling was used to test hypotheses. Results from an independent genome-wide association study of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in the cerebrospinal fluid were used to create serotonin (5-HT) polygenic risk scores, wherein higher scores reflected lower levels of 5-HT functioning. Data from three time points were drawn from each sample, and all paths were prospective. Findings suggested that 5-HT polygenic risk did not predict self-regulatory constructs. However, 5-HT polygenic risk did predict the divergent outcomes of depression and aggression/antisociality, such that higher levels of 5-HT polygenic risk predicted greater levels of depression and aggression/antisociality. Results most clearly supported adolescents’ aggression/antisociality as a mechanism in the relation between 5-HT polygenic risk and later alcohol use. Deficits in self-regulation also predicted depression and aggression/antisociality, and indirectly predicted alcohol use through aggression/antisociality. These pathways to alcohol use might be the most salient for boys with low levels of socioeconomic status.
Results are novel contributions to the literature. The previously observed association between serotonin functioning and alcohol use might be due, in part, to the fact that individuals with lower levels of serotonin functioning are predisposed towards developing earlier aggression/antisociality. Results did not support the hypothesis that serotonin functioning predisposes individuals to deficits in self-regulatory abilities. Findings extend previous research by suggesting that serotonin functioning and self-regulation might be transdiagnostic risk factors for many types of psychopathology.
The present study tested the factor structure of the externalizing disorders (e.g. attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (SE), and substance experimentation (SE) ) in adolescence. In addition, this study tested the influence of the GABRA2 gene on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Confirmatory factor analyses were used to test the factor structure of the externalizing spectrum. Specifically, three competing alternate confirmatory factor analytic models were tested: a one-factor model where all disorders loaded onto a single externalizing factor, a two-factor model where CD and SE loaded onto one factor and ADHD loaded onto another, and a three-factor model, where all three disorders loaded onto separate factors. Structural equation modeling was used to test the effect of a GABRA2 SNP, rs279858, on the factors of the externalizing spectrum. Analyses revealed that a three-factor model of externalizing disorders with correlated factors fit the data best. Additionally, GABRA2 had a significant effect on the SE factor in adolescence, but not on the CD or ADHD factors. These findings demonstrate that the externalizing disorders in adolescence share commonalities but also have separate sources of systematic variance. Furthermore, biological mechanisms may act as a unique etiological factor in the development of adolescent substance experimentation.
Does loneliness moderate the relations between interpersonal events and affect, stress, enjoyment, and bodily pain?
Research has suggested that lonely people demonstrate distinct differences from nonlonely people in their behaviors, mood, and interpersonal experiences. Lonely people who are also enduring a chronic pain condition may be at an especially high risk for negative outcomes because of simultaneous issues such as stigma, mood disturbances, and pain-related disability. The current study examined chronic and transitory loneliness in a sample of 123 chronic pain patients. Participants completed daily diaries assessing the occurrence of positive and negative interpersonal events, appraisals of interpersonal events, pain, and mood. Multilevel modeling was used to examine effects of being a lonely person as well as having a lonely episode on daily life. Results indicated that both chronic and transitory loneliness were associated with more frequent negative and less frequent positive interpersonal events, higher levels of pain, more negative and less positive affect, and more stress and less enjoyment from social interactions. Loneliness did not affect reactivity to negative interpersonal events, but did influence responsivity to positive interpersonal events such that lonely people had greater boosts in enjoyment when experiencing more positive interpersonal events than usual. These findings suggest that both lonely people and individuals experiencing a lonely episode experience more negative consequences in their daily lives than nonlonely people. However, they can benefit from engaging in more frequent positive interpersonal events, which can help to inform future clinical interventions for lonely, chronic pain patients.
In rehabilitation settings, activity limitation can be a significant barrier to recovery. This study sought to examine the effects of state and trait level benefit finding, positive affect, and catastrophizing on activity limitation among individuals with a physician-confirmed diagnosis of either Osteoarthritis (OA), Fibromyalgia (FM), or a dual diagnosis of OA/FM. Participants (106 OA, 53 FM, and 101 OA/FM) who had no diagnosed autoimmune disorder, a pain rating above 20 on a 0-100 scale, and no involvement in litigation regarding their condition were recruited in the Phoenix metropolitan area for inclusion in the current study. After initial questionnaires were completed, participants were trained to complete daily diaries on a laptop computer and instructed to do so a half an hour before bed each night for 30 days. In each diary, participants rated their average daily pain, benefit finding, positive affect, catastrophizing, and activity limitation. A single item, "I thought about some of the good things that have come from living with my pain" was used to examine the broader construct of benefit finding. It was hypothesized that state and trait level benefit finding would have a direct relation with activity limitation and a partially mediated relationship, through positive affect. Multilevel modeling with SAS PROC MIXED revealed that benefit finding was not directly related to activity limitation. Increases in benefit finding were associated, however, with decreases in activity limitation through a significant mediated relationship with positive affect. Individuals who benefit find had a higher level of positive affect which was associated with decreased activity limitation. A suppression effect involving pain and benefit finding at the trait level was also found. Pain appeared to increase the predictive validity of the relation of benefit finding to activity limitation. These findings have important implications for rehabilitation psychologists and should embolden clinicians to encourage patients to increase positive affect by employing active approach-oriented coping strategies like benefit finding to reduce activity limitation.
Disentangling the directions of influence among trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, and alcohol and drug problems
The present study utilized longitudinal data from a high-risk community sample (n= 377; 166 trauma-exposed; 54% males; 52% children of alcoholics; 73% non-Hispanic/Latino Caucasian; 22% Hispanic/Latino; 5% other ethnicity) to test a series of hypotheses that may help explain the risk pathways that link traumatic stress, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, and problematic alcohol and drug use. Specifically, this study examined whether pre-trauma substance use problems increase risk for trauma exposure (the high-risk hypothesis) or PTSD symptoms (the susceptibility hypothesis), whether PTSD symptoms increase risk for later alcohol/drug problems (the self-medication hypothesis), and whether the association between PTSD symptoms and alcohol/drug problems is due to shared risk factors (the shared vulnerability hypothesis). This study also examined the roles of gender and ethnicity in these pathways. A series of logistic and negative binomial regressions were performed in a path analysis framework. A composite pre-trauma family adversity variable was formed from measures of family conflict, family life stress, parental alcoholism, and other parent psychopathology. Results provided the strongest support for the self-medication hypothesis, such that PTSD symptoms predicted higher levels of later alcohol and drug problems among non-Hispanic/Latino Caucasian participants, over and above the influences of pre-trauma family adversity, pre-trauma substance use problems, trauma exposure, and demographic variables. Results partially supported the high-risk hypothesis, such that adolescent substance use problems had a marginally significant unique effect on risk for assaultive violence exposure but not on overall risk for trauma exposure. There was no support for the susceptibility hypothesis, as pre-trauma adolescent substance use problems did not significantly influence risk for PTSD diagnosis/symptoms over and above the influence of pre-trauma family adversity. Finally, there was little support for the shared vulnerability hypothesis. Neither trauma exposure nor preexisting family adversity accounted for the link between PTSD symptoms and later substance use problems. These results add to a growing body of literature in support of the self-medication hypothesis. Findings extend previous research by showing that PTSD symptoms may influence the development of alcohol and drug problems over and above the influence of trauma exposure itself, preexisting family risk factors, and baseline levels of substance use.
The hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis and the human genome are important components of the biological etiology of externalizing disorders. By studying the associations between specific genetic variants, diurnal cortisol, and externalizing symptoms we can begin to unpack this complex etiology. It was hypothesized that genetic variants from the corticotropine releasing hormone receptor 1 (CRHR1), FK506 binding protein 51 (FKBP5), catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT), and dopamine transporter (DAT1) genes and diurnal cortisol intercepts and slopes would separately predict externalizing symptoms. It was also hypothesized that genetic variants would moderate the association between cortisol and externalizing. Participants were 800 twins (51% boys), 88.5% Caucasian, M=7.93 years (SD=0.87) participating in the Wisconsin Twin Project. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) was used to separate the variance associated with state and trait cortisol measured across three consecutive days and trait cortisol measures were used. There were no main effects of genes on externalizing symptoms. The evening cortisol intercept, the morning cortisol slope and the evening cortisol slope predicted externalizing, but only in boys, such that boys with higher cortisol and flatter slopes across the day also had more externalizing symptoms. The morning cortisol intercept and CRHR1 rs242924 interacted to predict externalizing in both boys and girls, with GG carriers significantly higher compared to TT carriers at one standard deviation below the mean of morning cortisol. For boys only there was a significant interaction between the DAT1 variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) and the afternoon slope and a significant slope for 9/9 carriers and 9/10 carriers such that when the slope was more steep, boys carrying a nine had fewer externalizing symptoms but when the slope was less steep, they had more. Results confirm a link between diurnal trait cortisol and externalizing in boys, as well as moderation of that association by genetic polymorphisms. This is the first study to empirically examine this association and should encourage further research on the biological etiology of externalizing disorder symptoms.
The relations among mothers' personality, parenting behaviors, and children's regulation, sympathy, and prosocial behavior
The purpose of this study was to examine whether maternal personality (i.e., Agreeableness and Conscientiousness) predicted maternal positive parenting (i.e., warmth/sensitivity and structure), and whether maternal parenting predicted children's regulation and sympathy and/or prosocial behavior. Additionally, the mediated effect of maternal warmth/sensitivity on the relation between maternal Agreeableness and children's regulation and the mediated effect of maternal structure on the relation between maternal Agreeableness and children's observed sympathy/prosocial behavior were investigated. Maternal personality was measured when children (N = 256 at Time 1) were 18 months old; maternal parenting was assessed when children were 18, 30, and 42 months old; children's regulation and sympathy/prosocial behavior (observed and reported) were assessed when children were 30, 42, and 54 months old. Mothers reported on their personality; maternal warmth/sensitivity was observed; maternal structure was observed and mothers also reported on their use of reasoning; mothers and caregivers rated children's regulation (i.e., effortful control [EC]) and regulation was also observed; mothers and fathers rated children's prosocial behavior; sympathy and prosocial behavior were also observed. In a path analysis, Conscientiousness did not significantly predict maternal warmth/sensitivity or structure at 30 months, whereas Agreeableness marginally predicted maternal warmth/sensitivity at 30 months and significantly predicted maternal structure at 30 months. Maternal warmth/sensitivity at 18 months significantly predicted 30-month EC, and 30-month maternal warmth/sensitivity significantly predicted 42-month EC. Maternal structure at 30 months significantly predicted 42-month observed sympathy/prosocial behavior. Maternal warmth/sensitivity at 42 months significantly predicted 54-month observed sympathy/prosocial behavior and marginally predicted 54-month reported prosocial behavior. Maternal structure and EC did not significantly predict reported prosocial behavior across any time point. EC did not significantly predict observed sympathy/prosocial behavior across any time point and maternal warmth/sensitivity at 18 and 30 months did not predict observed or reported sympathy/prosocial behavior at 30 or 42 months, respectively. Maternal Agreeableness directly predicted 30-month reported prosocial behavior and additional paths suggested possible bidirectional relations between maternal warmth/sensitivity and structure. Mediation analyses were pursued for two indirect relations; however, neither mediated effect was significant. Additional results are presented, and findings (as well as lack thereof) are discussed in terms of extant literature.
Re-Conceptualizing Genetic Influence in GxE Studies: Does Inherited Sensitivity to Environmental Influence Moderate the Indirect Effect of Parent Knowledge on Future Drinking?
Excessive drinking in adolescence is a public health issue with major consequences on both an individual and societal level. Elucidating genetic and environmental influences could be particularly informative for prevention efforts. One potential source of genetic influence is sensitivity to environmental influences. It was hypothesized that parent knowledge would interact with genetic sensitivity to the environment to indirectly reduce risk for alcohol problems through less adolescent rule breaking behavior. Participants (N=316) provided genetic data and reported their rule breaking behavior and past year frequency of heavy drinking, and participants’ custodial parents reported their perceived knowledge of their child’s activities. A novel index of genetic sensitivity to environmental influence was created using published methylation quantitative trait locus data from the frontal lobe. Study hypotheses were mostly not supported. The study results likely reflect the poor distribution of study variables and the limitations of the current study’s sensitivity gene score. The current study underscored the importance of adhering to methodological rigor and explored alternate conceptualizations and methods that future research could use to elucidate the role of inherited to sensitivity to environmental influences in adolescent drinking.