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Executive functioning, temperament, and drug use involvement in adolescent females with a substance use disorder

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Background:

This study determined whether temperament mediates the relation between executive functioning (EF) and drug use involvement and whether EF and temperament interact to account for unique variance in drug use involvement. Method:

Participants were 340, 14–18-year-old, adolescent females with a substance use disorder and controls. EF was measured using a battery of neuropsychological tests, temperament was assessed using the Dimensions of Temperament Survey – Revised, and drug use involvement was measured with the Drug Use Screening Inventory. Results:

Temperament mediated the relation between EF and drug use involvement. Girls with a ‘difficult’ temperament exhibited significantly greater drug use involvement than girls with a ‘good’ temperament. Finally, low EF was significantly related to increased drug use involvement for girls with a good temperament, but not for girls with a difficult temperament. Conclusions:

The results suggest that a difficult temperament is a more important risk factor for drug use than low EF. Given previous studies that have shown significant relations between EF and drug use, further research on this topic is warranted.
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Keywords: Addiction; adolescence; aggression; alcohol abuse; executive function; temperament

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Kentucky, USA; 2: School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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