Full Program »
118. LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF EARLY ADOLESCENT ALCOHOL AND MARIJUANA USE ON ATTENTIONAL AND INHIBITORY CONTROL
Adolescent substance use may adversely impact brain development and confer risk for psychopathology later in life (Grant & Dawson, 2004; Tapert et al., 2002). While the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive development has been widely investigated, there is a dearth of prospective research on adolescent marijuana use and cognitive functioning (Crean et al., 2011). The current study utilized a longitudinal sample to address this gap. Adolescents (N = 387) and a caregiver completed nine annual assessments (adolescent mean ages 11.6-19.9). Structural equation models were used to test pathways from early alcohol and marijuana use to subsequent cognitive functioning, controlling for prior levels of outcomes and antisocial problems. Models fit the data well (χ2 (118) = 189.08, p = 0.00, CFI = 0.97, RMSEA = 0.04; χ2 (116) = 161.68, p = 0.00, CFI = 0.98, RMSEA = 0.03). High levels of early marijuana use, but not alcohol use, predicted lower levels of subsequent attentional control (β=-0.21, p < .05) and inhibitory control (β=-0.19, p = .09). Findings highlight that early marijuana use confers risk for unhealthy development of cognitive control. This is particularly important given that poor cognitive control may increase vulnerability for internalizing and externalizing psychopathology (Mueller, 2011).