1. Dick DM, Nasim A, Edwards AC, Salvatore J, Cho SB, Adkins A, Meyers J, Yan J, Cooke M, Clifford J, Goyal N, Halberstadt L, Ailstock K, Neale Z, Opalesky J, Hancock L, Donovan KK, Sun C, Riley B, Kendler KS. Spit for Science: Launching a longitudinal study of genetic and environmental influences on substance use and emotional health at a large US university. Frontiers in Genetics (Behavioral and Psychiatric), 2014 Mar 6;5:47. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00047. PMID: 24639683. PMCID: PMC3944794
Abstract: Finding genes involved in complex behavioral outcomes, and understanding the pathways by which they confer risk, is a challenging task, necessitating large samples that are phenotypically well characterized across time. We describe an effort to create a university-wide research project aimed at understanding how genes and environments impact alcohol use and related substance use and mental health outcomes across time in college students. Nearly 70% of the incoming freshman class (N = 2715) completed on-line surveys, with 80% of the students from the fall completing spring follow-ups. 98% of eligible participants also gave DNA. The participants closely approximated the university population in terms of gender and racial/ethnic composition. Here we provide initial results on alcohol use outcomes from the first wave of the sample, as well as associated predictor variables. We discuss the potential for this kind of research to advance our understanding of genetic and environment influences on substance use and mental health outcomes.
2. Salvatore JE, Kendler KS, Dick DM. Romantic relationship status and alcohol use and problems across the first year of college. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. 2014 Jul;75(4)580-9. PMID: 24988257. PMCID: PMC4108599
Abstract: Objective: We examined the associations between romantic relationship status and alcohol use and problems in a large sample of first-year college students. Method: Participants (n = 2,056) came from a longitudinal study of college students who answered questions about relationship status (single, in an exclusive relationship, or dating several people), alcohol use, and alcohol problems at two time points across their first year. Results: After we controlled for a number of covariates (parental alcohol problems, high school conduct problems, peer deviance, and extraversion), we found that dating several people was associated with higher alcohol use and problems, compared with being single or being in an exclusive relationship, at the follow-up assessment only, with modest effect sizes. Being in an exclusive relationship was not associated with lower alcohol use or problems compared with being single. Relationship dissolution was associated with a modest longitudinal increase in alcohol problems. Conclusions: It is important to consider alternative relationship statuses (e.g., dating several people) for understanding the association of romantic status with alcohol use and problems in college-aged samples. Involvement in an exclusive romantic relationship (vs. being single) in this age group is not associated with the behavioral health benefits documented in older-adult samples. College students dating several people may be at risk for high levels of alcohol use or problems and may benefit from targeted interventions. Those who have recently experienced a breakup also may be at risk for increases in alcohol problems, although the clinical relevance of this finding should be tempered by the small observed effect size.
3. Kendler KS, Myers J, Dick DM. The stability and predictors of peer group deviance in university students. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2015 Sep;50(9):1463-70. doi: 10.1007/s00127-015-1031-4. Epub 2015 Feb 22. PMID: 25702166. PMCID: PMC4546573
Abstract: Background: Peer group deviance (PGD) is strongly associated with current and future externalizing behaviors. Debate remains about the degree to which this association arises from social selection. The first year of university constitutes a social experiment in which most individuals leave their home environment and recreate for themselves a new peer group. Methods: PGD was measured in newly arrived university students and then 6 and 18 months later. Other personality and family traits were also assessed Results: PGD reported for high school friends at the start of university and university friends 6 months later were substantially correlated (+0.60). This correlation was only slightly diminished if restricted to students whose home was greater than 50 miles from the university. PGD was strongly predicted across three cohorts by male sex (+), extraversion (+), conscientiousness (-), a family history of alcohol use disorders (+) and depression (+), and religiosity (-).These predictors of PGD had a relatively stable impact over 18 months and, aside from sex, differed only modestly in males and females. Conclusions: As individuals change social groups from high school to university, the level of PGD remains relatively stable, suggesting that individuals play a strong role in selecting peer groups with consistent characteristics. PGD is also predicted cross-sectionally and longitudinally by personality, family background and religiosity. Our results suggest that the association between personal and peer deviance is due at least in part to the effects of social selection.
4. Dick DM, Hancock LC. Integrating basic research with prevention/intervention to reduce risky substance use among college students. Frontiers in Psychology. 2015 May 7;6544. doi: 10.3389fpsyg.2015.00544. eCollection 2015. PMID: 25999878. PMCID: PMC4423347
Abstract: Too often basic research on etiological processes that contribute to substance use outcomes is disconnected from efforts to develop prevention and intervention programming. Substance use on college campuses is an area of concern where translational efforts that bring together basic scientists and prevention/intervention practitioners have potential for high impact. We describe an effort at a large, public, urban university in the United States to bring together researchers across the campus with expertise in college behavioral health with university administration and health/wellness practitioners to address college student substance use and mental health. The project “Spit for Science” examines how genetic and environmental influences contribute to behavioral health outcomes across the college years. We argue that findings coming out of basic research can be used to develop more tailored prevention and intervention programming that incorporates both biologically and psychosocially influenced risk factors. Examples of personalized programming suggest this may be a fruitful way to advance the field and reduce risky substance use.
5. Kendler KS, Edwards A, Myers J, Cho SB, Adkins A, Dick D. The predictive power of family history measures of alcohol and drug problems and internalizing disorders in a college population. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics. 2015 Jul;168B(5):337-46. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32320. Epub 2015 May 6. PMID: 25946510. PMCID: PMC4466079 [Available on 2016-7-1]
Abstract: A family history (FH) of psychiatric and substance use problems is a potent risk factor for common internalizing and externalizing disorders. In a large web-based assessment of mental health in college students, we developed a brief set of screening questions for a FH of alcohol problems (AP), drug problems (DP) and depression-anxiety in four classes of relatives (father, mother, aunts/uncles/grandparents, and siblings) as reported by the student. Positive reports of a history of AP, DP, and depression-anxiety were substantially correlated within relatives. These FH measures predicted in the student, in an expected pattern, dimensions of personality and impulsivity, alcohol consumption and problems, smoking and nicotine dependence, use of illicit drugs, and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Using the mean score from the four classes of relatives was more predictive than using a familial/sporadic dichotomy. Interactions were seen between the FH of AP, DP, and depression-anxiety and peer deviance in predicting symptoms of alcohol and tobacco dependence. As the students aged, the FH of AP became a stronger predictor of alcohol problems. While we cannot directly assess the validity of these FH reports, the pattern of findings suggest that our brief screening items were able to assess, with some accuracy, the FH of substance misuse and internalizing psychiatric disorders in relatives. If correct, these measures can play an important role in the creation of developmental etiologic models for substance and internalizing psychiatric disorders which constitute one of the central goals of the overall project.
6. Conley A, Overstreet CM, Hawn SE, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Amstadter AB. Prevalence and predictors of sexual assault among a college sample. American Journal of Public Health. 2017 Jan;65(1):41-49 doi: 10.1080/07448481.2016.1235578 PMCID: PMC5862547
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This study examined the prevalence and correlates of precollege, college-onset, and repeat sexual assault (SA) within a representative student sample. PARTICIPANTS: A representative sample of 7,603 students. METHODS: Incoming first-year students completed a survey about their exposure to broad SA prior to college, prior trauma, personality, relationships, and mental health. Broad SA was then reassessed each spring semester while enrolled. RESULTS: Nearly 20% of the sample reported experiencing broad SA, with women endorsing significantly higher rates compared with males. Prior victimization before coming to college was related to a greater risk of victimization in college, and there was no statistically significant difference between males and females who reported revictimization. Correlates of college-onset broad SA were found and are discussed. CONCLUSIONS: Given the need for SA intervention and prevention on college campuses, identification of factors potentially contributing to exposure within this population is essential.
7. Savage JE, Neale Z, Cho SB, Hancock L, Kalmijn JA, Smith TL, Schuckit MA, Kidd Donovan K, Dick DM. Level of response to alcohol as a factor for targeted prevention in college students. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2015 Nov;39(11):2215-23. doi: 10.1111/acer.12874. PMID: 26503068 PMCID: PMC4624230
Abstract: Background: Heavy alcohol consumption and alcohol problems among college students are widespread and associated with negative outcomes for individuals and communities. Although current methods for prevention and intervention programming have some demonstrated efficacy, heavy drinking remains a problem. A previous pilot study and a recent large-scale evaluation (Schuckit et al., , ) found that a tailored prevention program based on a risk factor for heavy drinking, low level of response (low LR) to alcohol, was more effective at reducing heavy drinking than a state-of-the-art (SOTA) standard prevention program for individuals with the low LR risk factor. Methods: This study enrolled 231 first-semester college freshmen with either high or low LR into the same level of response-based (LRB) or SOTA online prevention programs as in the previous reports (consisting of 4 weeks of video modules), as well as a group of matched controls not receiving alcohol prevention, and compared changes in alcohol use between these groups across a 6-month period. Results: Individuals in alcohol prevention programs had a greater reduction in maximum drinks per occasion and alcohol use disorder symptoms than controls. There was limited evidence for interactions between LR and prevention group in predicting change in alcohol use behaviors; only among participants with strict adherence to the program was there an interaction between LR and program in predicting maximum drinks per occasion. However, overall, low LR individuals showed greater decreases in drinking behaviors, especially risky behaviors (e.g., maximum drinks, frequency of heavy drinking) than high LR individuals. Conclusions: These results indicate that prevention programs, including brief and relatively inexpensive web-based programs, may be effective for persons at highest risk for heavier drinking, such as those with a low LR. Tailored programs may provide incremental benefits under some conditions. Long-term follow-ups and further investigations of tailored prevention programs based on other risk factors are needed.
8. Berenz EC, Cho SB, Overstreet C, Kendler K, Amstadter AB, Dick DM. Longitudinal investigation of interpersonal trauma exposure and alcohol use trajectories. Addictive Behaviors. 2016 Feb;53:67-73. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.09.014. Epub 2015 Sep 25. PMID: 26454552. PMCID: PMC4699169. [Available on 2017-02-01]
Abstract: Background: The current longitudinal study examined associations between interpersonal potentially traumatic events (PTEs; i.e., sexual or physical assault) and changes in alcohol consumption among incoming college students. Methods: 1197 students (68% female) participating in a university-wide research study were included in analyses. Assessments were administered at three time-points and included measures of alcohol use, PTEs (Life Events Checklist), and a screener for possible PTSD symptoms (abbreviated Primary Care PTSD Screen). Linear growth curve models were fit to the three repeated measures of alcohol quantity and frequency to determine the role of pre-college and college-onset interpersonal PTEs and possible PTSD symptoms on patterns of alcohol use. Results: Pre-college interpersonal PTE was associated with greater baseline alcohol use for female but not male students. College-onset interpersonal PTE predicted greater alcohol use at concurrent and future assessments for women but not men, beyond the effects of pre-college PTE. Pre-college possible PTSD symptoms did not predict baseline or change in alcohol use. Conclusions: There may be a stronger and longer-lasting impact of interpersonal PTE for college women compared to men on alcohol phenotypes, although replication in studies oversampling men endorsing interpersonal PTE is needed.
9. Cho SB, Llaneza DC, Adkins AE, Cooke M, Kendler KS, Clark SL, Dick DM. Patterns of Substance Use Across the First Year of College and Associated Risk Factors. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2015 Oct 27;6:152. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00152. PMID: 26578984. PMCID: PMC4621385
Abstract: Starting college is a major life transition. This study aims to characterize patterns of substance use across a variety of substances across the first year of college and identify associated factors. We used data from the first cohort (N = 2056, 1240 females) of the “Spit for Science” sample, a study of incoming freshmen at a large urban university. Latent transition analysis was applied to alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and other illicit drug uses measured at the beginning of the fall semester and midway through the spring semester. Covariates across multiple domains – including personality, drinking motivations and expectancy, high school delinquency, peer deviance, stressful events, and symptoms of depression and anxiety – were included to predict the patterns of substance use and transitions between patterns across the first year. At both the fall and spring semesters, we identified three subgroups of participants with patterns of substance use characterized as: (1) use of all four substances; (2) alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use; and (3) overall low substance use. Patterns of substance use were highly stable across the first year of college: most students maintained their class membership from fall to spring, with just 7% of participants in the initial low substance users transitioning to spring alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis users. Most of the included covariates were predictive of the initial pattern of use, but covariates related to experiences across the first year of college were more predictive of the transition from the low to alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis user groups. Our results suggest that while there is an overall increase in alcohol use across all students, college students largely maintain their patterns of substance use across the first year. Risk factors experienced during the first year may be effective targets for preventing increases in substance use.
10. Salvatore JE, Thomas NS, Cho SB, Adkins A, Kendler KS, Dick DM. The role of romantic relationship status in pathways of risk for emerging adult alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2016 May;30(3):335-44. doi: 10.1037/adb0000145. PMID: 27214170. PMCID: PMC4880412 [Available on 2017-05-01]
Abstract: Dating several people in emerging adulthood has been associated with higher alcohol use compared with being single or being in an exclusive relationship. As a follow-up to that report, we examined whether romantic relationship status is part of a pathway of risk between antecedent alcohol use risk factors and subsequent alcohol outcomes. Participants were 4,410 emerging adults assessed at 2 time-points during their first year of college. We found that a parental history of alcohol problems was indirectly related to dating several people via 2 modestly correlated pathways. The first pathway was through conduct problems. The second pathway was through positive urgency (i.e., a positive emotion-based predisposition to rash action). In turn, dating several people was associated with higher alcohol use. Our results suggest that these familial and individual-level alcohol risk factors are related to emerging adults' selection into subsequent romantic relationship experiences that are associated with higher alcohol use. These findings have implications for how romantic relationship experiences may fit into developmental models of the etiology of alcohol use.
11. Berenz EC, Kevorkian S, Chowdhury N, Dick DM, Kendler KS, & Amstadter AB (2016). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, and alcohol use motives in college students with a history of interpersonal trauma. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2016 Nov;30(7):755-763. doi: 10.1037/adb0000193. Epub 2016 Oct 27. PMID: 27786512 PMCID: PMC5114160
Abstract: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with coping-motivated alcohol use in trauma-exposed samples. However, it is unclear which individuals experiencing PTSD symptoms are at greatest risk for alcohol-use problems following trauma exposure. Individuals endorsing high anxiety sensitivity, which is the fear of anxiety and related sensations, may be particularly motivated to use alcohol to cope with PTSD symptoms. In the current study, we examined the moderating role of anxiety sensitivity in the association between PTSD symptoms and coping motives in a sample of 295 young adults with a history of interpersonal trauma and current alcohol use. Participants completed measures of past 30-day alcohol consumption, trauma history, current PTSD symptoms, anxiety sensitivity, and alcohol-use motives. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that greater anxiety sensitivity was significantly associated with greater coping (β = .219) and conformity (β = .156) alcohol-use motives, and greater PTSD symptoms were associated with greater coping motives (β = .247), above and beyond the covariates of sex, alcohol consumption, trauma load, and noncriterion alcohol-use motives. The interaction of anxiety sensitivity and PTSD symptoms accounted for additional variance in coping motives above and beyond the main effects (β = .117), with greater PTSD symptoms being associated with greater coping motives among those high but not low in anxiety sensitivity. Assessment and treatment of PTSD symptoms and anxiety sensitivity in young adults with interpersonal trauma may be warranted as a means of decreasing alcohol-related risk in trauma-exposed young adults.
12. Moore AA, Overstreet C, Kendler KS, Dick D, Adkins A, Amstadter AB. Potentially traumatic events, personality and risky sexual behavior in undergraduate college students. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. 2017 Jan;9(1):105-112 PMCID: PMC5191997
Abstract: Objective: Impulsivity and extraversion have demonstrated associations with risky sexual behavior (RSB) and potentially traumatic events (PTEs). In addition, interpersonal trauma appears to be associated with RSB, but research on the relationship between RSB and noninterpersonal PTEs (e.g., accidental) is lacking. The current study aims to investigate the relationships between personality (i.e., impulsivity, extraversion), RSB and multiple types of PTEs (i.e., accidental, physical, or sexual). Method: Personality and demographic characteristics were assessed during participants' (N = 970) first semester of college, past-12 month PTEs and RSB were assessed during the second semester of participants' junior year. Multiple linear regression was used to examine the relationship between PTEs, personality factors, and RSB. Analyses were also conducted to examine the potential mediating effect of interpersonal PTEs on the relationship between personality and RSB. Results: Impulsivity and extraversion were significantly positively associated with RSB. Both physical and sexual PTEs, but not accidental PTEs, were also significantly positively associated with RSB. Sexual PTEs significantly mediated the relationship between impulsivity and RSB. Conclusions: This is the first study to date to simultaneously examine the relationship between personality, RSB, and types of PTEs in a large sample of young adults. Exposure to interpersonal trauma appears to be a salient factor in the relationship between personality, specifically impulsivity, and RSB. These results indicate that college students may benefit from education regarding the potential negative outcomes of RSB, and that individuals with a history of interpersonal PTEs may be at increased risk for sexual risk taking.
13. Cooke ME, Nasim A, Cho SB, Kendler KS, Clark SL, Dick DM. Predicting tobacco use across the first year of college. American Journal of Health Behaviors. 2016 Jul 40(4): 484-95(12). DOI:10.5993/AJHB.40.4.10
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to assess patterns of tobacco use across the first year of college, transitions in use, and associated predictors. Methods: The frequency of tobacco use (cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and hookah) during the fall and spring of 4073 college students' first year at college were used as indicators in latent class (LCA) and latent transition analyses (LTA). Results: The LCA yielded 3 classes that represent levels of use frequency and not specific tobacco product classes: non-using, experimenting, and frequent using. The LTA results demonstrate stability in class membership from fall to spring. The most common transition was for the fall experimenters to transition out of experimentation. A series of demographic, environmental, and intrapersonal predictors were found to influence both fall class membership, and transitions from fall to spring. Conclusions: Students are likely to use multiple alternative tobacco products along with cigarettes. Their frequency of use of these products is fairly stable across the first year of college. Predictors reflecting experiences during the first year of college had the greatest impact on college tobacco use, demonstrating the importance of the college experience on young adult tobacco use.
14. Bono R, Barnes A, Dick DM, Kendler KS. Drinking, Cigarette Smoking, and Employment among American College Freshmen at a Four-Year University. Substance Use and Misuse. 2017 Jan 28;52(2):182-193. and PMCID: PMC5479060
Abstract: Background: For American college students, alcohol and cigarette use are important health concerns, and employment concurrent with school attendance is on the rise. Given the lifelong importance of employment and substance use trajectories begun in college, parsing out the relationship between the two is meaningful. Objective: This study's purpose is to determine whether employment during college is associated with substance use. Methods: Cross-sectional associations between employment (work hours, earnings) and substance use (drinking frequency, drinking quantity, smoking frequency) were estimated using partial proportional odds models in a sample of N = 1457 freshmen attending a large, public 4-year university in 2011, after accounting for demographics, personality, social environment, and parental influences. Results: Working 10 more hours and earning $50 more per week as a freshman had modest positive associations with higher smoking frequency and with moderate drinking frequency and quantity prior to adjustment. After adjustment, work hours remained modestly associated with moderate drinking frequency and quantity. No adjusted associations were found among employment measures and smoking or between weekly earnings and drinking frequency. Different relationships emerged for moderate versus heavy alcohol use frequency and quantity. Conclusions: Both employment and substance use are commonplace among college freshmen. After extensive controls for potential confounders, the relationship between the two appears modest. Employment may yet play a role in college student substance use, but work hours and earnings are likely only small parts of a larger web of influences on drinking and smoking.
15. Homman LE, Edwards AC, Cho SB, Dick DM, Kendler KS. Gender and direction of effect of alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms in a longitudinal sample of college students. Substance Use and Misuse. Epub 2016 Nov 16. p. 429-438 doi: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1233983
Abstract: Background: Alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms are consistently found to be associated but how they relate to each other is unclear. Objective: The present study aimed to address limitations in the literature of comorbidity of alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms by investigating the direction of effect between the phenotypes and possible gender differences in college students. Method: We utilized data from a large longitudinal study of college students from the United States (N = 2607). Three waves of questionnaire-based data were collected over the first two years of college (in 2011–2013). Cross-lagged models were applied to examine the possible direction of effect of internalizing symptoms and alcohol problems. Possible effects of gender were investigated using multigroup modeling. Results:There were significant correlations between alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms. A direction of effect was found between alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms but differed between genders. A unidirectional relationship varying with age was identified for males where alcohol problems initially predicted internalizing symptoms followed by internalizing symptoms predicting alcohol problems. For females, a unidirectional relationship existed wherein alcohol problems predicted internalizing symptoms. Conclusions/Importance: We conclude that the relationship between alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms is complex and differ between genders. In males, both phenotypes are predictive of each other, while in females the relationship is driven by alcohol problems. Importantly, our study examines a population-based sample, revealing that the observed relationships between alcohol problems and internalizing symptoms are not limited to individuals with clinically diagnosed mental health or substance use problems.
16. Bryant N, Arendt J, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Adkins A. From saliva samples to the classroom and beyond: What college students are telling us about genetic and environmental influences on substance use and emotional health. Substance Abuse Library and Information Studies (2016) Volume III, Issue I. Pg. 4-10
Abstract: In 2011, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University launched “Spit for Science,” a large-scale longitudinal study in which nearly 9,900 undergraduate students are currently enrolled. Students will be followed across their college years and beyond to understand how genetic and environmental factors influence substance use and emotional health over time. This presentation highlights several facets of the project. A collaboration between a researcher and an interdisciplinary team of librarians demonstrates how the data are being integrated into the classroom to enhance undergraduate students’ understanding of the research process. We also discuss multidisciplinary collaborations that have evolved from the project as well as the DNA component, including work in progress and work that remains. If replicated at other universities, this model holds promise for better understanding the associations between genes and substance use and mental health disorders.
17. Overstreet CM, Berenz EC, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Amstadter AB. Predictors and mental health outcomes of potentially traumatic event exposure. Psychiatry Research (2017) Volume 247, Pages 296-304 doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.10.047
Abstract: The aims were two-fold: to examine prevalence and correlates of lifetime potentially traumatic event (PTE) exposure and to explore the relationships between PTE exposure and mental health outcomes (i.e., trauma related distress, alcohol use quantity and frequency, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms) within a large sample of college freshmen. 6120 participants, consisting of three cohorts of incoming freshman at a large southeastern university, completed an online assessment battery measuring a multitude of factors including PTEs, personality, relationships (i.e., parental and peer), and mental health. The majority (81.8%) of participants endorsed experiencing at least one PTE within their lifetime and 39.0% reported at least one interpersonal trauma (i.e., physical assault, sexual assault, other unwanted or uncomfortable sexual situation). The average number of PTE categories endorsed was 1.71 (SD=1.30), and 8.7% of participants reported experiencing four or more separate PTE categories pre-college entry. Female gender and peer deviance were consistently associated with PTE exposure and symptoms of psychopathology. Furthermore, a history of interpersonal PTE exposure was associated with increased alcohol use (i.e., frequency and quantity), trauma related distress, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. The data demonstrate high prevalence PTE exposure among young adults and the clinical significance of a PTE history.
18. Spindle T, HIler M, Cooke M, Eissenberg T, Kendler KS, Dick DM. Electronic cigarette use and uptake of cigarette smoking: A longitudinal examination of US college students. December 2016. Addictive Behaviors 67 DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.12.009
Abstract: Introduction: Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use prevalence is increasing among U.S. adolescents and adults but recent longitudinal data for college/university students are scarce. Furthermore, the extent that e-cigarette use is associated with the onset of cigarette smoking and the factors that lead to the uptake of e-cigarettes in college students has not been explored. Methods: 3757 participants from a Mid-Atlantic university (women: 66%; White: 45%; Black: 21%; Asian: 19%; Hispanic/Latino: 6%) were surveyed in 2014 and again in 2015. Results: Among participants reporting never smoking at time 1, those who had ever tried e-cigarettes or were currently using e-cigarettes (at least one use in past 30days) were more likely to have ever tried cigarettes by time 2 relative to individuals who had not used e-cigarettes. Ever use of e-cigarettes (but not current use) also increased participants' likelihood of being current cigarette smokers at time 2. Among initial never users of e-cigarettes or cigarettes, males and ever marijuana users had an increased probability of trying e-cigarettes by time 2. Furthermore, less perseverance (an index of impulsivity) and ever use of other tobacco products increased initial never users' chances of trying both cigarettes and e-cigarettes by time 2. Conclusions: Given that never-smoking participants who had tried e-cigarettes were more likely to initiate cigarette use later, limiting young adults' access to these products may be beneficial. As the long-term health implications of e-cigarette use become clearer, predictors of e-cigarette use could help identify future populations likely to use and abuse these products.
19. Lind MJ, Baylor A, Overstreet CM, Hawn SE, Rybarczyk BD, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Amstadter AB. Relationships between potentially traumatic events, sleep disturbance, and symptoms of PTSD and alcohol use disorder in a young adult sample. Sleep Medicine(2017) Volume 34, Pages 141-147 doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2017.02.024.
Abstract: Background: Traumatic events, particularly those that are interpersonal in nature, are associated with increased risk for co-occurring sequelae, including sleep disturbances, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, the associations between these phenotypes have not been explored among college students. Methods: We examined relationships between type of potentially traumatic event (PTE) exposure (pre-college) and sleep disturbances, as well as mediating effects of lifetime PTSD and AUD symptoms on these relationships, in a large undergraduate sample (N = 1599, 64.7% female). Hierarchical linear regressions were conducted, beginning with demographics and then adding interpersonal and accidental PTEs in a stepwise regression; mediation analyses were run. Results: Within the sample, 33.7% endorsed at least one interpersonal PTE, while 64.4% endorsed at least one accidental PTE. Hierarchical regressions demonstrated that interpersonal (β = 0.202, p = 0.000), but not accidental PTE exposure significantly predicted disturbed sleep. Both PTSD and AUD symptoms significantly mediated (p values < 0.001) the relationship between interpersonal PTE exposure and sleep, with indirect effects accounting for 61% and 17% of total effects, respectively. In the correlated mediation model, both disorders remained significant mediators (p < 0.001), with indirect effects accounting for 56% (PTSD symptoms) and 14% (AUD symptoms) of total effects on sleep. Conclusions: Results suggest that interpersonal PTEs are more potent predictors of sleep problems than accidental PTEs. Further, trauma exposure psychiatric symptom sequelae (PTSD, AUD) account for part of the relationship between interpersonal PTE exposure and disturbed sleep, which both independently and jointly suggests that treating PTSD and AUD symptoms in college students may also improve sleep.
20. O’Shea T, Thomas NS, Webb BT, Dick DM, Kendler KS, & Chartier, KG. ALDH2 rs671 and peer drinking in East Asian college students. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2017 Nov;43(6):678-685. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2017.1314489. PMID: 28471244 PMCID: PMC5916547
Abstract: Background: The ALDH2*2 allele (A-allele) at rs671 is more commonly carried by Asians and is associated with alcohol-related flushing, a strong adverse reaction to alcohol that is protective against drinking. Social factors, such as having friends who binge drink, also contribute to drinking in Asian youth. Objective: This study examined the interplay between ALDH2*2, peer drinking, and alcohol consumption in college students. We hypothesized that the relationship between ALDH2*2 and standard grams of ethanol per month would vary based on the level of peer drinking. Methods: Subjects (N = 318, 63.25% female) were East Asian college students in the United States who reported drinking alcohol. Data were from the freshman year of a university survey that included a saliva DNA sample. ALDH2*2 status was coded ALDH2*2(+) (A/G and A/A genotypes) and ALDH2*2(-) (G/G genotype). Peer drinking was students' perception of how many of their friends "got drunk". Results: Main effects of ALDH2*2(-) and having more friends who got drunk were associated with greater alcohol consumption. The ALDH2*2 × peer drunkenness interaction showed a stronger positive association with alcohol consumption for ALDH2*2(-) versus ALDH2*2(+) at increasing levels of peer drunkenness. Follow-up comparisons within each peer drunkenness level identified significantly higher alcohol consumption for ALDH2*2(-) compared to ALDH2*2(+) at the all friends got drunk level. Conclusion: There was evidence of a stronger effect for ALDH2*2(-) compared to ALDH2*2(+) with greater alcohol use when students were more exposed to peer drinking. Findings contribute to a growing literature on the interrelationships between genetic influences and more permissive environments for alcohol consumption.
21. Peterson RE, Edwards AC, Bacanu SA, Dick DM, Kendler KS, Webb BT. The Utility of empirically assigning ancestry groups in cross-population genetic studies of addiction. Am J Addict (2017) 26(5) 494-501 doi: 10.1111/ajad.12586. PMID: 28714599 PMCID: PMC5646819
Abstract: Background and objectives: Given moderate heritability and significant heterogeneity among addiction phenotypes, successful genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are expected to need very large samples. As sample sizes grow, so can genetic diversity leading to challenges in analyzing these data. Methods for empirically assigning individuals to genetically informed ancestry groups are needed. Methods: We describe a strategy for empirically assigning ancestry groups in ethnically diverse GWAS data including extensions of principal component analysis (PCA) and population matching through minimum Mahalanobis distance. We apply these methods to data from Spit for Science (S4S): the University Student Survey, a study following college students longitudinally that includes genetic and environmental data on substance use and mental health (n = 7,603). Results: The genetic-based population assignments for S4S were 48.7% European, 22.5% African, 10.4% Americas, 9.2% East Asian, and 9.2% South Asian descent. Self-reported census categories "More than one race" and "Unknown"as well as "Hawaiian/Pacific Islander" and "American-Indian/Native Alaskan" were empirically assigned representing a +9% sample retention over conventional methods. Although there was high concordance between self-reported race and empirical population-match (+.924), there was reduction in variance for most ancestry PCs for genetic-based population assignments. Conclusions: We were able to create more genetically homogenous groups and reduce sample and marker loss through cross-ancestry meta-analysis, potentially increasing power to detect etiologically relevant variation. Our approach provides a framework for empirically assigning genetic ancestry groups which can be applied to other ethnically diverse genetic studies. Scientific significance: Given the important public health impact and demonstrable gains in statistical power from studying diverse populations, empirically sound practices for genetic studies are needed.
22. Mathies LD, Aliev F, COGA Investigators, Davies AG, Dick DM, & Bettinger JC (2017). Variation in SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex proteins is associated with alcohol dependence and antisocial beahvior in human populations. Alcohol clin Exp Res. 2017 Dec;41(12):2033-2040. PMID: 28981154 PMCID: PMC5711565
Abstract: Testing for direct gene or single nucleotide polymorphism replication of association across studies may not capture the true importance of a candidate locus; rather, we suggest that relevant replication across studies may be found at the level of a biological process. We previously observed that variation in 2 members of the switching defective/sucrose nonfermenting (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex is associated with alcohol dependence (AD) in the Irish Affected Sib Pair Study for Alcohol Dependence. Here, we tested for association with alcohol-related outcomes using a set of genes functioning in the SWI/SNF complex in 2 independent samples. We used a set-based analysis to examine the 29 genes of the SWI/SNF complex for evidence of association with (i) AD in the adult Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA) case-control sample and (ii) antisocial behavior, hypothesized to be a genetically related developmental precursor, in a younger population sample (Spit for Science [S4S]). We found evidence for association of the SWI/SNF complex with AD in COGA (p = 0.0435) and more general antisocial behavior in S4S (p = 0.00026). The genes that contributed most strongly to the signal in COGA were SS18L1, SMARCD1, BRD7, BCL7B, SMARCB1, and BCL11A. In the S4S sample, ACTB, ARID2, BCL11A, BCL11B, BCL7B, BCL7C, DPF2, and DPF3 all contributed strongly to the signal. We detected associations between the SWI/SNF complex and AD in an adult population selected from treatment-seeking probands and antisocial behavior in an adolescent population sample. This provides strong support for a role for SWI/SNF in the development of alcohol-related problems.
23. Soneji S., Barrington-Trimis JL, Wills TA, Leventhal AM, Unger JB, Gibson LA, Yang J, Primack BA, Andrews JA, Miech TA, Spindle TR, Dick DM, Eissenberg T, Hornik RC, Dang T, Sargent JD. (2017). Association Between Initial Use of e-Cigarettes and Subsequent Cigarette Smoking Among Adolescents and Young Adults A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 171(8) 788-797, doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.1488. PMID: 28654986 PMCID: PMC5656237
Abstract: To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies that assessed initial use of e-cigarettes and subsequent cigarette smoking. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, the 2016 Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 22nd Annual Meeting abstracts, the 2016 Society of Behavioral Medicine 37th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions abstracts, and the 2016 National Institutes of Health Tobacco Regulatory Science Program Conference were searched between February 7 and February 17, 2017. The search included indexed terms and text words to capture concepts associated with e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes in articles published from database inception to the date of the search. STUDY SELECTION: Longitudinal studies reporting odds ratios for cigarette smoking initiation associated with ever use of e-cigarettes or past 30-day cigarette smoking associated with past 30-day e-cigarette use. Searches yielded 6959 unique studies, of which 9 met inclusion criteria (comprising 17 389 adolescents and young adults).DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Study quality and risk of bias were assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale and the Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies of Interventions tool, respectively. Data and estimates were pooled using random-effects meta-analysis. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Among baseline never cigarette smokers, cigarette smoking initiation between baseline and follow-up. Among baseline non-past 30-day cigarette smokers who were past 30-day e-cigarette users, past 30-day cigarette smoking at follow-up. RESULTS: Among 17 389 adolescents and young adults, the ages ranged between 14 and 30 years at baseline, and 56.0% were female. The pooled probabilities of cigarette smoking initiation were 30.4% for baseline ever e-cigarette users and 7.9% for baseline never e-cigarette users. The pooled probabilities of past 30-day cigarette smoking at follow-up were 21.5% for baseline past 30-day e-cigarette users and 4.6% for baseline non-past 30-day e-cigarette users. Adjusting for known demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral risk factors for cigarette smoking, the pooled odds ratio for subsequent cigarette smoking initiation was 3.62 (95% CI, 2.42-5.41) for ever vs never e-cigarette users, and the pooled odds ratio for past 30-day cigarette smoking at follow-up was 4.28 (95% CI, 2.52-7.27) for past 30-day e-cigarette vs non-past 30-day e-cigarette users at baseline. A moderate level of heterogeneity was observed among studies (I2 = 60.1%). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: e-Cigarette use was associated with greater risk for subsequent cigarette smoking initiation and past 30-day cigarette smoking. Strong e-cigarette regulation could potentially curb use among youth and possibly limit the future population-level burden of cigarette smoking.
24. Cooke, M. E., Neale, Z. E., Barr, P. B., Myers, J., Dick, D. M., Kendler, K. S., & Edwards, A. C. (2017). The Role of Social, Familial, and Individual‐Level Factors on Multiple Alcohol Use Outcomes During the First Year of University. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Oct; 41(10): 1783–1793. PMCID: PMC5626635 PMID: 28805240
Abstract: The first year of university attendance represents a critical time frame for the development of alcohol use and misuse given changes in autonomy and increased access to alcohol. Prior studies have demonstrated that the establishment of drinking patterns during this period is impacted by an array of demographic, environmental, and familial factors. It is critical to consider such factors jointly, and to understand potentially differential effects on stages of alcohol use/misuse, in order to identify robust predictors that may be targeted in prevention and intervention programming. METHODS: As part of a longitudinal study, students at a large, public U.S. university were invited to complete online surveys that included questions related to alcohol use, emotional and behavioral health, environmental factors, sociodemographic factors, and familial environment. This study uses data from surveys administered in the fall and spring of the first year of university. We used univariate (maximum N = 7,291) and multivariate (maximum N = 4,788) logistic and linear regressions to evaluate the associations between potential risk and protective factors with 4 alcohol use outcomes: initiation, consumption, problems, and addiction resistance. RESULTS: In multivariate models, we observed associations between demographic, social/environmental, and personal-level predictors with all 4 alcohol outcomes, several of which were consistent across each stage of alcohol use. A deviant high school peer group was one of the strongest predictors of risk across outcomes. The influence of drinking motives and alcohol expectancies varied by alcohol use outcome. Externalizing characteristics were associated with increased risk across outcomes, while internalizing symptoms were associated with more problems and lower addiction resistance. CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore the complex network of factors influencing stages of alcohol use during the first year of university. Importantly, these findings demonstrate that the impact of predictors changes across stages of alcohol use/misuse, which presents opportunities for targeted prevention efforts.
25. Docherty, A., Moscati, A., Dick, D., Savage, J., Salvatore, J., Cooke, M., . . . Kendler, K. (2018). Polygenic prediction of the phenome, across ancestry, in emerging adulthood. Psychological Medicine, 48(11), 1814-1823. doi:10.1017/S0033291717003312
Abstract: Identifying genetic relationships between complex traits in emerging adulthood can provide useful etiological insights into risk for psychopathology. College-age individuals are under-represented in genomic analyses thus far, and the majority of work has focused on the clinical disorder or cognitive abilities rather than normal-range behavioral outcomes. METHODS: This study examined a sample of emerging adults 18-22 years of age (N = 5947) to construct an atlas of polygenic risk for 33 traits predicting relevant phenotypic outcomes. Twenty-eight hypotheses were tested based on the previous literature on samples of European ancestry, and the availability of rich assessment data allowed for polygenic predictions across 55 psychological and medical phenotypes. RESULTS: Polygenic risk for schizophrenia (SZ) in emerging adults predicted anxiety, depression, nicotine use, trauma, and family history of psychological disorders. Polygenic risk for neuroticism predicted anxiety, depression, phobia, panic, neuroticism, and was correlated with polygenic risk for cardiovascular disease.CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the extensive impact of genetic risk for SZ, neuroticism, and major depression on a range of health outcomes in early adulthood. Minimal cross-ancestry replication of these phenomic patterns of polygenic influence underscores the need for more genome-wide association studies of non-European populations.
26. Webb, B. T., Edwards, A. C., Wolen, A. R., Salvatore, J. E., Aliev, F., Riley, B. P., Sun, C., Williamson, V. S., Kitchens, J. N., Pedersen, K., Adkins, A., Cooke, M. E., Savage, J. E., Neale, Z., Cho, S. B., Dick, D. M., & Kendler, K. S. (2017). Molecular Genetic Influences on Normative and Problematic Alcohol Use in a Population-Based Sample of College Students. Frontiers in genetics, 8, 30. https://doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2017.00030
Abstract: Genetic factors impact alcohol use behaviors and these factors may become increasingly evident during emerging adulthood. Examination of the effects of individual variants as well as aggregate genetic variation can clarify mechanisms underlying risk. Methods: We conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in an ethnically diverse sample of college students for three quantitative outcomes including typical monthly alcohol consumption, alcohol problems, and maximum number of drinks in 24 h. Heritability based on common genetic variants (h2SNP) was assessed. We also evaluated whether risk variants in aggregate were associated with alcohol use outcomes in an independent sample of young adults. Results: Two genome-wide significant markers were observed: rs11201929 in GRID1 for maximum drinks in 24 h, with supportive evidence across all ancestry groups; and rs73317305 in SAMD12 (alcohol problems), tested only in the African ancestry group. The h2SNP estimate was 0.19 (SE = 0.11) for consumption, and was non-significant for other outcomes. Genome-wide polygenic scores were significantly associated with alcohol outcomes in an independent sample. Conclusions: These results robustly identify genetic risk for alcohol use outcomes at the variant level and in aggregate. We confirm prior evidence that genetic variation in GRID1 impacts alcohol use, and identify novel loci of interest for multiple alcohol outcomes in emerging adults. These findings indicate that genetic variation influencing normative and problematic alcohol use is, to some extent, convergent across ancestry groups. Studying college populations represents a promising avenue by which to obtain large, diverse samples for gene identification.
27. Niazi Z, Dick DM, Adkins A, Cooke M. The Relationship Between Parenting Styles and Substance Use Among University Students (2017). Am Journal of Undergraduate Research, 14(3). 37.
ABSTRACT: Parenting styles are important in the behavioral development of adolescents. The environment created by the parent, in regards to communication with their child and level of independence given to their child, may influence the child’s susceptibility to risk behaviors. This study examines the relationship between parenting style and substance use among university students. We hypothesized that university students exposed to lower levels of autonomy granting (AG) or parental involvement (PI) parenting styles would have an increased likelihood of alcohol and nicotine use. We also hypothesized that religiosity, parental education level, ethnicity, and gender would act as moderators of parenting styles and alcohol and nicotine use. Data from a diverse university-wide sample was collected in the fall semester of the student’s freshman year from 2011-2014 (N = 9889, 61.5% female). Results demonstrated that AG had a significant, negative association with alcohol use (B = -0.033, p = 0.006) and nicotine use (B = -0.066, p <0.001). All moderators were found to be significant predictors of alcohol use, however only father education level demonstrated a borderline significant moderation of the relationship between PI and alcohol use. Religiosity, Black race, Asian race, and gender were found to be significant predictors of nicotine use. Only gender moderated the association between PI and nicotine use. Even though alcohol and nicotine use and AG were associated, our results indicate that once students enter university, previous parenting style does not have a strong effect on alcohol and nicotine use behaviors in our sample.
28. Bares, C.B., Dick, D., Kendler, K.S. (2018). Nicotine dependence, internalizing symptoms, mood variability and daily tobacco use among young adult smokers. Addictive Behaviors: Special Issue on Ambulatory Assessment. 83:87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2017.09.004. PMID: 28943065 PMCID: PMC5857395
Abstract: Tobacco use among college aged young adults continues to rise. Previous studies have suggested a bidirectional relationship between internalizing symptoms, mood variability and tobacco use. Examining the association of within-individual differences in negative mood and cigarette use, while controlling for the influence of internalizing symptoms, could provide a test regarding the direction of causation between internalizing symptoms and cigarette use. Methods: Data for this study came from a sample of college students (n=39, 59% female, mean age 20.4 years) who reported regular tobacco cigarette use and participated in a 21-day ecological momentary assessment (EMA) study assessing cigarette use and mood. Results: A three-level hierarchical linear model accounting for the structure of 1,896 occasions of cigarette use nested within days and individuals indicated that within-individual variability in negative mood was associated with smoking more cigarettes at each occasion, after taking into account the influence of internalizing symptoms and nicotine dependence. Conclusions: Negative mood variability might be indexing an occasion-level measure of internalizing symptoms that varies within individuals and leads to consuming more cigarettes.
29. Chowdhury, N., Kevorkian, S., Hawn, S.E., Amstadter, A.B., Dick, D., Kendler, K.S., Berenz, E.C. (2018). Associations between personality and distress tolerance among trauma-exposed young adults. Personality and Individual Differences, 2018 Jan 1;120:166-170. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.08.041. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 29861519 PMCID: PMC5978428
Abstract: Low distress tolerance (DT) is related to negative mental health outcomes, particularly among trauma-exposed populations, who are at greater risk for mental health problems. However, little is known about potential etiological factors underlying the development of perceived (i.e., self-report) or behaviorally assessed DT. The present study examined associations between Big Five personality factors (i.e., openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, & neuroticism) and multiple measures of DT. Participants were 440 college students (71.4% women) endorsing a history of one or more potentially traumatic events. Participants completed the abbreviated Big Five Inventory (BFI), Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS), Discomfort Intolerance Scale (DIS), breath-holding task, and Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT). Results of a series of hierarchical linear regressions indicated that higher levels of neuroticism and lower levels of conscientiousness were significantly associated with lower DTS scores, but no other DT measures. Greater extraversion was significantly associated with greater DT on the DIS and was nominally associated with greater DT on the PASAT. Lower levels of openness were associated with lower DT on the breath-holding task. Individual differences in normal personality traits account for significant variation in multiple measures of DT and may provide insight into the etiology of various forms of DT.
30. Barker SB, Schubert CM, Barker RT, Kuo SI, Kendler KS & Dick DM (2018). The relationship between pet ownership, social support, and internalizing symptoms in students from the first to fourth year of college. Journal of Applied Developmental Science. 24:3, 279-293 DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2018.1476148
Abstract: Internalizing symptoms are prevalent in students as they enter and complete college. Considering research suggesting mental health benefits of pet ownership, this study explores the relationship between pet ownership, social support (SS), and internalizing symptoms (IS) in a cohort of students across their 4-year college experience. With no differences at college entry, students growing up with pets had greater IS through the fourth year, and greater SS through the third year, than those without pets. Currently living with a pet, gender, SS and personality predicted IS in the fourth year. Females experiencing higher IS in their first year are more likely to live with pets in their fourth year, and fourth year females living with pets or greatly missing absent pets have higher IS than females without pets or missing pets less. Findings suggest a unique relationship between IS in female students and their pet relationships not seen in males.
31. Neale, Z. E., Salvatore, J. E., Cooke, M. E., Savage, J. E., Aliev, F., Donovan, K. K., ... & Dick, D. (2018). The Utility of a Brief Web-based Prevention Intervention as a Universal Approach for Risky Alcohol Use in College Students: Evidence of Moderation by Family History. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 747.
Abstract: Alcohol use on college campuses is prevalent and contributes to problems that affect the health, emotional wellbeing, and academic success of college students. Risk factors, such as family history of alcohol problems, predict future alcohol problems, but less is known about their potential impact on intervention effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of an intervention implemented in a non-randomized sample of drinking and non-drinking college freshmen. Methods: Freshmen college students recruited for the intervention study (n = 153) completed a web-adaptation of the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) at the start of spring semester. We compared their 30-days post-intervention alcohol initiation, number of drinking days (DAYS), drinks per occasion (DRINKS), maximum drinks in 24 h (MAX24) and alcohol use disorder symptoms (AUDsx) to 151 comparison participants retrospectively matched on demographics and baseline alcohol use behaviors. We also tested baseline DRINKS, DAYS, AUDsx, MAX24, and parental family history (PFH) of alcohol problems as moderators of the effect of the intervention. Results: At follow-up, intervention participants had lower rates of AUDsx than comparison participants, especially among baseline drinkers. Among participants drinking 3+ days/month at baseline, intervention participants showed fewer DAYS at follow-up than the comparison group participants. BASICS was also associated with a decreased likelihood of initiation among baseline non-drinkers. PFH significantly interacted with treatment group, with positive PFH intervention participants reporting significantly fewer AUDsx at follow-up compared to positive PFH comparison participants. We found no evidence for an effect of the intervention on DRINKS or MAX24 in our analyses. Conclusions: Results suggest some indication that novel groups, such as non-drinkers, regular drinkers, and PFH positive students may experience benefits from BASICS. Although conclusions were limited by lack of randomization and short follow-up period, PFH positive and low to moderate drinking groups represent viable targets for future randomized studies.
32. Berenz, E. C., McNett, S., Rappaport, L., Vujanovic, A. A., Viana, A. G., Dick, D., & Amstadter, A. B. (in press). Age of alcohol use initiation and psychiatric symptoms among young adult trauma survivors. Addictive Behaviors. 88: 150-156. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2018.08.022
Abstract: Alcohol use disorder (AUD) evidences high rates of comorbidity with a range of psychiatric disorders, particularly within high-risk populations, such as individuals exposed to physical or sexual violence. Increasing efforts are focused on understanding the role of early alcohol use (e.g., during adolescence) on emotional and psychiatric functioning over time, as well as sex differences in these associations. The aim of the current study was to evaluate patterns of association between age of initiation of regular alcohol use and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depressive symptoms as a function of sex. Participants were 269 college students with a history of interpersonal trauma and alcohol use who completed a battery of questionnaires regarding alcohol use and emotional health. Neither bivariate correlations nor results from structural equation models covarying for key factors showed a relationship between age of alcohol use initiation and current psychiatric symptoms among men (n = 63). Results of a structural equation model supported an association between earlier age of alcohol use initiation and greater levels of current PTSD (β = -0.14), anxiety (β = -0.15), and depression symptoms (β = -0.16) in the female sub-sample (n = 202), after controlling for covariates, as well as intercorrelations among criterion variables. Statistical support for sex as a moderator of these associations was not detected. The current study provides preliminary evidence for potential sex differences in the role of early alcohol use in the development of psychiatric symptoms and highlights the need for systematic longitudinal research.
33. Williams K, Thomas NS, Adkins AE, Dick DM. (2018) Perception of peer drinking and access to alcohol mediate the effect of residence status on alcohol consumption. American Journal of Undergraduate Research, 13-21, 14(4)
Abstract: Alcohol consumption is common in college attending populations, and can have a negative impact on an individual's academic, physical, and mental health. Previous research suggests that living at home could act as a protective measure. The current research looks at potential mediators of the association between living with parents while attending college and amount of alcohol consumed. In particular, we examined access to alcohol, parental monitoring, and perception of peer drunkenness as mediators of the association. Methods: This study examined freshman data collected from a survey conducted at a large public university in the mid-Atlantic United States. A pathway model was fit to test the relationships between residence status, access to alcohol, parental monitoring, and perception of peer drunkenness on alcohol consumption. Results: We observed statistically significant indirect effects of residence status on alcohol consumption through perception of peer drinking and access to alcohol. Parental monitoring was significantly related to lower alcohol consumption and there was a direct effect of residence status on alcohol consumption. Conclusion: There were significant indirect effects of residence status on alcohol consumption through both peer drinking and access to alcohol. Parental monitoring was associated with decreased alcohol consumption, with no indirect effect in association with residence status. These effects were persistent in the presence of a range of covariates, including age, gender, ethnicity, and parental education.
34. Su J, Hancock L, McGann A, Alshagra M, Ericson R, Niazi Z, Dick DM, Adkins A. (2018) Evaluating the effect of a campus-wide social norms marketing intervention on alcohol-use perceptions, consumption, and blackouts. J Am Coll Health, 66(3);219-224. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2017.1382500.
Abstract: To evaluate the effect of a campus-wide social norms marketing intervention on alcohol-use perceptions, consumption, and blackouts at a large, urban, public university. PARTICIPANTS: 4,172 college students (1,208 freshmen, 1,159 sophomores, 953 juniors, and 852 seniors) who completed surveys in Spring 2015 for the Spit for Science Study, a longitudinal study of students' substance use and emotional health. METHODS: Participants were e-mailed an online survey that queried campaign readership, perception of peer alcohol use, alcohol consumption, frequency of consumption, and frequency of blackouts. Associations between variables were evaluated using path analysis. RESULTS: We found that campaign readership was associated with more accurate perceptions of peer alcohol use, which, in turn, was associated with self-reported lower number of drinks per sitting and experiencing fewer blackouts. CONCLUSIONS: This evaluation supports the use of social norms marketing as a population-level intervention to correct alcohol-use misperceptions and reduce blackouts.
35. Hawn SE, Lind, MJ, Conley A, Overstreet, CM, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Amstadter AB. (2018) Effects of social support on the association between pre-college sexual assault and college onset victimization. J Am Coll Health, 66(6): 467-475. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1431911.
Abstract: This study examined the moderating and mediating effects of perceived social support on the association between precollege sexual assault (SA) and college-onset SA.PARTICIPANTS: A representative sample of 6,132 undergraduates. METHODS: The PLUM procedure in SPSS was used to test the moderation model, with individual regressions conducted in a hierarchical fashion. A weighted least squared mean and variance adjusted (WLSMV) mediation model was used to examine the mediating effect of social support. RESULTS: Precollege SA significantly predicted college-onset SA. Social support significantly mediated the relation between precollege SA and college-onset SA. Social support was not a significant moderator of this relationship. CONCLUSIONS: Given the high prevalence of SA among college populations, as well as the high rates of SA revictimization, identification of factors that may be related to repeated SA (eg, low social support) within this population are essential and may inform intervention, policy, and university student services.
36. Bourdon JL, Moore AA, Long EC, Kendler KS, Dick DM. (2018) The relationship between on-campus service utilization and common mental health symptoms in undergraduate college students. Psycholo Serv doi: 10.1037/ser0000296.
Abstract: Little research exists into the trends associated with on-campus service utilization for mental health concerns of college students. Rates of broad service utilization exist, but no published study has examined the direct relationship between a range of common mental health symptoms and on-campus service utilization. The aims of the present study are to explore (1) which common mental health concerns are associated with specific on-campus service utilization in undergraduate students and (2) whether endorsement of more mental health concerns will predict a higher number of services utilized. Data were utilized from 3,734 undergraduates at a large (more than 20,000 undergraduates), urban university (Mage = 19.94 years, SD = 0.55 years; female = 66%). Four on-campus services (University Counseling Services, University Health Services, The Wellness Resource Center, and Disability Support Services) were regressed onto mental health concerns associated with symptoms of three disorders (anxiety, depression, alcohol use disorder [AUD]) and two mental health risk factors (stressful life events [SLEs], antisocial behaviors [ASBs]). AUD symptoms predicted the most overall and specific service utilization, followed by depression symptoms and SLEs. Anxiety symptoms and ASBs were not significant predictors when combined with other variables. This is the first study to investigate trends specific to on-campus college student service utilization. Findings will be helpful to mental health professionals on similar college campuses by providing insight into programming and outreach initiatives for these or related services.
37. Do EK, Prom-Wormley EC, Fuemmeler BF, Dick DM, Kendler KS & Maes HH. (2018) Associations Between Initial Subjective Experiences with Tobacco and Self-Reported Recent Use in Young Adulthood Subst Use Misuse, 53(14): 2291-2298. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2018.1473435.
ABSTRACT: Youth tobacco use behaviors are predictive of patterns in adulthood and effect long-term health outcomes. Yet, few studies have examined the effect of initial subjective experiences (ISEs) during first tobacco use, which has been found to be an indicator of individuals. sensitivity to nicotine and vulnerability to dependence. OBJECTIVE: The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of ISEs across a variety of tobacco products, evaluate the factor structure of ISEs by first tobacco product used, and examine the relationship between ISEs and recent (30-day) use of tobacco products across time, using a university sample. METHODS: Exploratory factor analyses were conducted to identify latent factors present with respect to items measuring ISEs with tobacco, separately by tobacco product (e.g. cigarettes, cigars, hookah, e-cigarettes). Factor scores for positive and negative ISEs were calculated. Multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between ISEs and recent use of each tobacco product, adjusted for age at first use, sex, race/ethnicity, and cohort. RESULTS: ISEs differ by the first tobacco product used. Associations between factor scores for positive and negative ISEs and recent use were found across a variety of tobacco products. Overall, positive ISEs were more strongly associated with recent use, relative to negative ISEs. CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed to identify genetic and biological pathways and social contexts influencing initial subjective experiences with tobacco use, in efforts to delay the initiation for tobacco use and reduce risk for continued use among young adults.
38. Hawn SE, Sheerin CM, Webb BT, Peterson RE, Do E, Dick, DM, Kendler KS, Bacanu SA, Amstadter AB. Replication of the interaction of PRKG1 and trauma exposure on alcohol misuse in an independent, African American sample. (2018). J Trauma Stress 31(6): 927-932 doi: 10.1002/jts.22339
Abstract: In the present study, we sought to replicate recent findings of Polimanti et al. (2017), who conducted a genome-wide gene-by-environment interaction study (GEWIS) and identified a gene-by-trauma interaction that predicts alcohol misuse among African Americans. Consistent with the findings published by Polimanti and colleagues, results of the current study demonstrated an interaction effect, b = 0.41, of trauma exposure and rs1729578 in the intron of PRKG1 on alcohol misuse in a subsample of ancestral African Americans. The minor allele (rs1729578*C) was positively associated with increased alcohol use disorder symptoms in trauma-exposed subjects and negatively associated in non-trauma-exposed subjects. This effect, however, was only significant for one out of three alcohol outcome measures we investigated, suggesting the interaction may be most salient when predicting higher severity of alcohol misuse. Additionally, the effect did not remain significant after we accounted for testing the effect on three different outcome variables. Also in line with the original study, the gene-by-environment effect was not demonstrated among the ancestral European subsample. The findings suggest this gene variant may increase an individual's susceptibility to environmental influences, both adverse and supportive.
39. Savage JE, Jansen PR, Stringer S, et al. Genome-wide association meta-analysis in 269,867 individuals identifies new genetic and functional links to intelligence. (2018). Nat Genet 50(7):912-919. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0152-6.
Abstract: Intelligence is highly heritable1 and a major determinant of human health and well-being2. Recent genome-wide meta-analyses have identified 24 genomic loci linked to variation in intelligence3-7, but much about its genetic underpinnings remains to be discovered. Here, we present a large-scale genetic association study of intelligence (n = 269,867), identifying 205 associated genomic loci (190 new) and 1,016 genes (939 new) via positional mapping, expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping, chromatin interaction mapping, and gene-based association analysis. We find enrichment of genetic effects in conserved and coding regions and associations with 146 nonsynonymous exonic variants. Associated genes are strongly expressed in the brain, specifically in striatal medium spiny neurons and hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Gene set analyses implicate pathways related to nervous system development and synaptic structure. We confirm previous strong genetic correlations with multiple health-related outcomes, and Mendelian randomization analysis results suggest protective effects of intelligence for Alzheimer's disease and ADHD and bidirectional causation with pleiotropic effects for schizophrenia. These results are a major step forward in understanding the neurobiology of cognitive function as well as genetically related neurological and psychiatric disorders.
40. Caamano-Isorna F, Adkins A, Moure-Rodríguez L, Conley AH, Dick D. (2018) Alcohol Use and Sexual and Physical Assault Victimization Among University Students: Three Years of Follow-Up. J Interpers Violence. 2021 Apr;36(7-8):NP3574-NP3595. doi: 886260518780413.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of sexual and physical assault among university students and its association with alcohol use. The research is part of a wider cohort study (Spit for ScienceTM) at a large public university in the United States. The follow-up data include the first two cohorts (2011, 2012; n = 5,170). The dependent variables were victim of sexual assault and victim of physical assault. The independent variables were alcohol dependence and abuse according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.), cannabis use, residence, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and previous experience of sexual assault and/or physical assault. We used multilevel logistic regression for repeated measures. All data were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models. Incidence rates of sexual and physical assault (per 100 students a year) were 15.1 and 27.6 among nonabusers/dependents versus 36.4 and 56.7 among alcohol-dependent females at the first year, and 2.8 and 4.7 versus 7.7 and 23.1 at the third year; while in males, incident rates were 6.0 and 3.1 versus 18.5 and 66.6, and 2.3 and 7.4 versus 18.9 and 15.1, respectively. Our results show that alcohol abuse and dependence constitute risk factors to be victim of sexual assault in males (odds ratio [OR] = 2.21 and OR = 2.73) and alcohol dependence in females (OR = 2.16). Similarly, alcohol abuse and dependence are risk factors to physical assault among both males (OR = 1.52 and OR = 2.03) and females (OR = 1.70 and OR = 2.88). Ethnicity, sexual orientation, and whether the individual had been victimized in the past were associated with sexual assault. Regarding physical assault, cannabis use and past victimization are also risk factors. Our study has shown that assault victimization is strongly related to alcohol abuse and dependence diagnoses in both genders. Ethnicity and sexual orientation are also associated to both assaults. Our results show that incidence rates of both types of assaults were clearly higher in the first 6 months of university, probably explained by the novel and potentially risky environment.
41. Berenz EC, Vujanovic A, Rappaport LM, Kevorkian S, Gonzales RE, Chowdhury N, Dutcher CD, Dick DM, Kendler KS, Amstadter AB. (2018) A Multimodal Study of Childhood Trauma and Distress Tolerance in Young Adulthood. J Aggress Maltreat Trauma, 27(7): 795-810. doi: 10.1080/10926771
Abstract: Individuals with a history of childhood trauma experience deficits in emotion regulation. However, few studies have investigated childhood trauma and both perceived (i.e., self-report) and behavioral measures of distress tolerance. The current study evaluated associations between childhood trauma (i.e., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and witnessing family violence) and measures of perceived (Distress Tolerance Scale) and behavioral distress tolerance (i.e., Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test, breath-holding). Participants were 320 undergraduate students with a history of interpersonal trauma (e.g., sexual/physical assault). Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate associations between frequency of childhood trauma type and distress tolerance. Greater childhood physical abuse was associated with higher perceived distress tolerance. Greater levels of witnessing family violence were associated with lower behavioral distress tolerance on the breath-holding task. No significant effects were found for Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test performance. Associations between childhood trauma and emotion regulation likely are complex and warrant further study.
42. Thomas NS, Adkins A, Aliev F, Edwards AC, Webb BT, Tiarsmith EC, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Chartier KG (2018). Alcohol Metabolizing Polygenic Risk for Alcohol Consumption in European American College Students. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 79(4):627-634.
Abstract: Evidence suggests that the nature and magnitude of some genetic effects on alcohol use vary by age. We tested for moderation in the effect of an alcohol metabolizing polygenic score by time across the college years. Participants (total n = 2,214) were drawn from three cohorts of undergraduate college students, who were assessed annually for up to 4 years starting in their freshman year. Polygenic risk scores (PRSs) were calculated from genes involved in the metabolism of alcohol, as many of these markers are among the best replicated in association studies examining alcohol use phenotypes. Linear mixed effects models were fit by maximum likelihood to test the main effects of time and the PRS on alcohol consumption, as well as moderation of the PRS effect on alcohol consumption by time. In the main effects model, the fixed effects for time and the PRS were positively associated with alcohol consumption. The interaction term testing moderation of the PRS effect by time reached statistical significance and remained statistically significant after other relevant interaction effects were controlled for. The main effect of the PRS accounted for 0.2% of the variance in alcohol consumption, whereas the interaction of PRS effect and time accounted for 0.05%. Alcohol metabolizing genetic effects on alcohol use appear to be more influential in later years of college than in earlier years. Shifting environmental contexts, such as increased access to alcohol as individuals approach the legal age to purchase alcohol, may account for this association.
43. Su, J., Kuo, S. I., Myers, J. M., Guy, M. & Dick, D. M. (2018). Examining interactions between genetic risk for alcohol problems, peer deviance, and interpersonal traumatic events on trajectory of alcohol use disorder symptoms among African American college students. Development and Psychopathology. doi: 10.1017/S0954579418000962
Abstract: Numerous studies have demonstrated that genetic and environmental factors interact to influence alcohol problems. Yet prior research has primarily focused on samples of European descent and little is known about gene-environment interactions in relation to alcohol problems in non-European populations. In this study, we examined whether and how genetic risk for alcohol problems and peer deviance and interpersonal traumatic events independently and interactively influence trajectories of alcohol use disorder symptoms in a sample of African American students across the college years (N = 1,119; Mage = 18.44 years). Data were drawn from the Spit for Science study where participants completed multiple online surveys throughout college and provided a saliva sample for genotyping. Multilevel growth curve analyses indicated that alcohol dependence genome-wide polygenic risk scores did not predict trajectory of alcohol use disorder symptoms, while family history of alcohol problems was associated with alcohol use disorder symptoms at the start of college but not with the rate of change in symptoms over time. Peer deviance and interpersonal traumatic events were associated with more alcohol use disorder symptoms across college years. Neither alcohol dependence genome-wide polygenic risk scores nor family history of alcohol problems moderated the effects of these environmental risk factors on alcohol use disorder symptoms. Our findings indicated that peer deviance and experience of interpersonal traumatic events are salient risk factors that elevate risk for alcohol problems among African American college students. Family history of alcohol problems could be a useful indicator of genetic risk for alcohol problems. Gene identification efforts with much larger samples of African descent are needed to better characterize genetic risk for alcohol use disorders, in order to better understand gene-environment interaction processes in this understudied population.
44. EEdwards AC, Deak JD, Gizer IR, Lai D, Chatzinakos C, Wilhelmsen KP, Lindsay J, Heron J, Hickman M, Webb BT, Bacanu SA, Foroud TM, Kendler KS, Dick DM, Schuckit MA. Meta-Analysis of Genetic Influences on Initial Alcohol Sensitivity. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Dec;42(12):2349-2359. doi: 10.1111/acer.13896. Epub 2018 Oct 28. PMID: 30276832; PMCID: PMC6286211.
Abstract: Previous studies indicate that low initial sensitivity to alcohol may be a risk factor for later alcohol misuse. Evidence suggests that initial sensitivity is influenced by genetic factors, but few molecular genetic studies have been reported. We conducted a meta-analysis of 2 population-based genome-wide association studies of the Self-Rating of the Effects of Alcohol scale. Our final sample consisted of 7,339 individuals (82.3% of European descent; 59.2% female) who reported having used alcohol at least 5 times. In addition, we estimated single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based heritability and conducted a series of secondary aggregate genetic analyses.No individual locus reached genome-wide significance. Gene and set based analyses, both overall and using tissue-specific expression data, yielded largely null results, and genes previously implicated in alcohol problems and consumption were overall not associated with initial sensitivity. Only 1 gene set, related to hormone signaling and including core clock genes, survived correction for multiple testing. A meta-analysis of SNP-based heritability resulted in a modest estimate of h2SNP = 0.19 (SE = 0.10), though this was driven by 1 sample (N = 3,683, h2SNP = 0.36, SE = 0.14, p = 0.04). No significant genetic correlations with other relevant outcomes were observed. Findings yielded only modest support for a genetic component underlying initial alcohol sensitivity. Results suggest that its biological underpinnings may diverge somewhat from that of other alcohol outcomes and may be related to core clock genes or other aspects of hormone signaling. Larger samples, ideally of prospectively assessed samples, are likely necessary to improve gene identification efforts and confirm the current findings.
45. Williams AB, Dzierzewski JM, Griffin SC, Lind MJ, Dick D & Rybarczyk BD. (2019) Insomnia Disorder and Behaviorally Induced Insufficient Sleep Syndrome: Prevalence and Relationship to Depression in College Students Behav Sleep Med. Mar-Apr 2020;18(2):275-286. PMID: 30789063 PMCID: PMC6814500
Abstract: College students are at increased risk for sleep disorders, including insomnia disorder and obtaining less than 6.5 hr of sleep per night by choice, or behaviorally induced insufficient sleep syndrome (BIISS). These disorders can have deleterious daytime consequences, including depression. This study aims to establish the prevalence of insomnia and BIISS disorders and examine associations of insomnia and BIISS with other sleep characteristics and depression. METHODS: A subset of data from Spit for Science, a college risk behaviors and health study (n = 989) was used. Insomnia and BIISS were defined as mutually exclusive disorders, based on diagnostic criteria. RESULTS: A majority (68%) of students were categorized as normal sleepers, followed by insomnia (22%), and BIISS (10%). Sleep duration was comparable between BIISS and insomnia, while daytime sleepiness was significantly higher in BIISS, and sleep latency was longer in insomnia (m = 44 vs. m = 13 min). Insomnia was associated with the highest depression symptoms, followed by BIISS, and normal sleep, controlling for demographics. Insomnia was associated with twice the risk of moderate or higher depression compared to normal sleep (CI: 1.60, 2.70, p < .001). CONCLUSION: These findings highlight the sleep difficulties endemic to college populations. Further, this study provides the first prevalence estimation of BIISS in college students and the first comparison of insomnia and BIISS on sleep characteristics and depressive symptoms. This study underscores the importance of targeted screening and intervention to improve both sleep and depression in this vulnerable population.
46. J (2019) Prevalence and predictors of suicidal ideation, plan, and attempts, in first-year college students with ADHD, Journal of American College Health. 2020 Apr;68(3):313-319. PMID: 30789063 PMCID: PMC6814500
Abstract: The present study evaluated the prevalence of past suicidal ideation (SI), plan, and attempt in college students with ADHD (N = 102) compared to a matched control (N = 102). Predictors of SI, plan, and attempts, were examined. Study participants were first year college students at a large Southeastern university who completed measures during August or September of 2014 or January of 2015. Measures were completed by first year students via an online survey. Prevalence rates for SI and related behaviors were higher among the ADHD group than the matched control, with suicide attempts rates four times higher in the ADHD group (13.7% vs. 2.9%). Results showed that ADHD predicted rates of SI and suicide attempt accounting for depression and key demographic variables. Findings have implications for suicide risk assessments conducted with college students with ADHD.
47. Cusack SE, Hicks TA, Bourdon J, Sheerin CM, Overstreet CM, Kendler KS, Dick DM & Amstadter AB (2019). Prevalence and predictors of PTSD among a college sample. J Am Coll Health 67:2, 123-131doi: 10.1080/07448481.2018.1462824
Abstract: This study examined the prevalence and correlates of probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in freshman entering college and prospective associations of probable PTSD with additional outcomes. Participants: 2,310 students with data collected from Fall 2014 through Spring 2015. Methods: Incoming freshman completed a survey assessing for relevant variables at the beginning of fall semester and during the spring semester. Results: Seventy percent of the sample endorsed experiencing at least one potentially traumatic event (PTE). 34.4% of PTE exposed individuals met criteria for probable PTSD. Female sex, higher depressive and anxiety symptoms, and interpersonal PTE count were positively associated with PTSD symptoms. Higher PTSD symptoms were associated with higher anxiety and depressive symptoms, and new-onset interpersonal PTE. Conclusions: Identification of factors contributing to risk for PTSD is essential to inform prevention and intervention efforts. Intervention efforts should be targeted to students experiencing PTSD symptoms as they enter college.
48. Dillon P, Kelpin S, Kendler K, Thacker L, Dick D, Svikis D. Gender Differences in Any-Source Caffeine and Energy Drink Use and Associated Adverse Health Behaviors. J Caffeine Adenosine Res. 2019 Mar 1;9(1):12-19. doi: 10.1089/caff.2018.0008. Epub 2019 Mar 14. PMID: 30944911; PMCID: PMC6444914.
Abstract: The majority of college students report caffeine use with many using caffeine daily. Energy drink (ED) use, in particular, is common among college students, and numerous studies link these heavily caffeinated drinks to a variety of adverse consequences including substance use and risky behaviors. However, little is known about correlations between any-source caffeine use and other substance use and problems. The purpose of this study was to evaluate patterns of caffeine use and examine the relationships between caffeine, in general, and EDs specifically, and adverse health behaviors in college students. Methods:We used data from a longitudinal study of alcohol use and health-related outcomes to assess caffeine, alcohol, nonprescription drug, and tobacco use and symptoms of alcohol dependence in 1958 freshmen from a mid-Atlantic university during Fall 2012. We compared adverse health behaviors between caffeine users and nonusers and ED users and nonusers. Data were evaluated separately in men and women. Results:While women reported significantly more caffeine use than men, men reported more ED use. EDs, regardless of frequency of use, were associated with all adverse health behaviors, but only in female students. Similarly, daily any-source caffeine use was significantly associated with alcohol, nonprescription drug, and tobacco use in female students, but in men, the association was less robust. Conclusions:This research shows that caffeine use is prevalent among college students, and, in female students, is associated with alcohol, nonprescription drug, and tobacco use and alcohol dependence symptoms. Interventions aimed at promoting healthy behaviors may be especially useful in this population.
49. Tubbs JD, Savage JE, Adkins AE, Amstadter AB, Dick DM. (2019). Mindfullness moderates the relation between trauma and anxiety symptoms in college students. J Am Coll Health. 67(3):235-245. PMID: 29979916 PMCID: PMC6330246 DOI:10.1080/07448481.2018.1477782
Abstract: To explore the relations between trauma exposure and anxiety and depression among college students, and to determine whether trait mindfulness may moderate these relations. Self-report survey data from 2,336 college sophomores were drawn from a larger university-wide study ("Spit for Science"). We constructed multiple linear regression models using past-year trauma exposure, trait mindfulness, and their multiplicative interaction to predict current anxiety and depressive symptom severity, while controlling for covariates. Mindfulness was associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety symptom severity. Trauma was a significant predictor of anxiety, but not depression, and high levels of mindfulness attenuated the association between trauma exposure and higher anxiety symptom severity. These results have implications for the treatment and prevention of anxiety among trauma-exposed college students and provide a basis for further research into the mechanisms through which mindfulness may facilitate positive mental health.
50. Cusack, S.E., Bourdon, J.L.,Bountress, K., Saunders, T.R., Kendler, K.S., Dick, D.M., Amstadter, A.B. (2019). Prospective Predictors of SexualRevictimization Among CollegeStudents, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, Onlinefirst. PMID31130049.
Abstract: This study examined the prevalence rates of sexual violence revictimization during each year of college. In addition, the impact of key mental health concerns on these rates was investigated. Incoming first-year students at a large, urban university completed a survey about their exposure to incidences of sexual assault before college and about their mental health symptoms. During each subsequent spring semester, experiences of sexual assault and mental health symptoms were reassessed. The sample was limited to individuals who reported sexual assault for at least one time period ( N = 3,294). More than 60% of individuals who endorsed an initial incident of sexual assault reported no subsequent incidences, leading to an overall revictimization rate of 39.5%. Rates of revictimization were higher for those identifying as women, as compared to men, and those identifying as White, as compared to those identifying as Asian or "other." Trauma-related distress and increased symptoms of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depression were all related to a greater risk of experiencing revictimization. Given that experiencing an initial sexual assault greatly increases the risk of experiencing revictimization, and considering the notable prevalence rates of sexual assault on college campuses, it is imperative to examine trends in revictimization throughout the course of college. Examining factors that increase risk for experiencing revictimization is crucial to developing university-wide effective prevention and intervention efforts. In addition to the efforts to increase the reporting of incidences of sexual assault, universal programming efforts should also focus on factors that promote resilience in the face of sexual assault, such as reducing risky drinking behavior, increasing social support, and reducing stigma around the reporting of mental health symptoms.
51. Gnilka PB, Broda MD & The S4S Working Group. Multidimensional Perfectionism, Depression, and Anxiety: Tests of a Social Support Mediation Model. Personality and Individual Differences, 139 (2019) 295-300.
Abstract: This study examined the relationship between multidimensional perfectionism, social support, and two out-comes (depression and anxiety) in a sample of 1785 undergraduate students. Perfectionistic concerns had a negative relationship with social support, and perfectionistic strivings had a positive relationship with social support. The relationships between both dimensions of perfectionism and both outcomes were mediated by social support
52. Bountress KE, Cusack SE, Sheerin CM, Hawn S, Dick DM, Kendler KS, Amstadter AB. Alcohol consumption, interpersonal trauma, and drinking to cope with trauma-related distress: An auto-regressive, cross-lagged model. Psychol Addict Behav. 2019 May;33(3):221-231. doi: 10.1037/adb0000457. Epub 2019 Mar 14. PMID: 30869917; PMCID: PMC6483845.
Abstract: Alcohol consumption and interpersonal trauma (IPT) co-occur at high rates, particularly in college populations. Two non-mutually-exclusive theories of this comorbidity are the risky behavior model, suggesting that substance use increases likelihood of IPT, and the self-medication model, suggesting that individuals use substances to cope with trauma-related symptoms. Few have simultaneously tested these theories in a sample of college students. Thus, the overarching aim of this longitudinal study (n = 1320) was to identify whether alcohol consumption and IPT are associated with one another, and if IPT and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) impacts use of alcohol to cope with trauma-related distress. Data were collected from a longitudinal study of college students attending a large public university. Participants in the current study were on average 18.46 years old at study entry, primarily female (70%), and of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds (e.g., 49.4% White, 19.7% Black, 17.2% Asian). Results from auto-regressive, cross-lagged models indicated that alcohol consumption preceded IPT exposure. In contrast, IPT was not prospectively associated with alcohol consumption. Those reporting probable PTSD, but not IPT, reported more use of alcohol to cope with trauma-related distress. These findings provide support for the risky behavior model, indicating that those with higher levels of alcohol consumption may be a vulnerable group in terms of likelihood of IPT. Findings also suggest that those reporting probable PTSD may be at risk for use of alcohol to cope with trauma-related distress. Implications of these findings, in light of study limitations, are discussed.
53. Smith RL, Salvatore JE, Aliev F, Neale Z, Barr P; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick DM. Genes, Roommates, and Residence Halls: A Multidimensional Study of the Role of Peer Drinking on College Students' Alcohol Use. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 Jun;43(6):1254-1262. doi: 10.1111/acer.14037. Epub 2019 Apr 29.
Abstract: Peer drinking is one of the most robust predictors of college students’ alcohol use and can moderate students’ genetic risk for alcohol use. Peer effect research generally suffers from two problems: selection into peer groups and relying on perceptions of peer alcohol use than peers’ self-report. The goal of the present study was to overcome those limitations by capitalizing on a genetically-informed sample of randomly assigned college roommates to examine multiple dimensions of peer influence and the interplay between peer effects and genetic predisposition on alcohol use, in the form of polygenic scores. Methods:We used a subsample (n= 755) of participants from a university-wide, longitudinal study at a large, diverse, urban university. Participants reported their own alcohol use during fall and spring and their perceptions of college peers’ alcohol use in spring. We matched individuals into their rooms and residence halls to create a composite score of peer-reported alcohol use for each of those levels. We examined multiple dimensions of peer influence and whether peer influence moderated genetic predisposition to predict college students’ alcohol use using multilevel models to account for clustering at the room and residence hall level. Results:We found that polygenic scores (b= .12), perceptions of peer drinking (b= .37), and roommates’ self-reported drinking (b= .10) predicted alcohol use (all ps < .001), while average alcohol use across residence hall did not (b= -.01, p= .86). We found no evidence for interactions between peer influence and genome-wide polygenic scores for alcohol use. Conclusion:Our findings underscore the importance of genetic predisposition on individual alcohol use and support the potentially causal nature of the association between peer influence on alcohol use.
54. Ksinan AJ, Su J, Aliev F; Spit for Science Workgroup, Dick DM. Unpacking Genetic Risk Pathways for College Student Alcohol Consumption: The Mediating Role of Impulsivity. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2019 Oct;43(10):2100-2110. doi: 10.1111/acer.14157. Epub 2019 Aug 26.
Abstract: The period of college represents a particularly risky developmental stage with regard to alcohol use, as college students engage in more risky drinking behaviors than their noncollege peers, and such problematic alcohol use is associated with far-reaching negative consequences. Existing findings from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) indicate that alcohol consumption has a complex polygenic etiology. Currently, there is a lack of studies examining genetic risk for alcohol consumption using polygenic risk scores (PRS) in college samples. In this study, we examined whether alcohol-specific and risky behavior-related PRS were longitudinally associated with alcohol consumption among college students and whether this effect might be partially mediated by impulsivity domains. The sample included n = 2,385 European ancestry (EA) and n = 1,153 African ancestry (AA) college students assessed over the course of 4 years. To indicate genetic risk, 2 PRS were created based on recent large-scale GWAS: alcohol consumption (Liu et al., 2019) -drinks per week (DPW)-PRS and risky behaviors (Linnér et al., 2019) -RISK-PRS. The main outcome was alcohol consumption, measured across 4 waves of follow-up data. The UPPS-P impulsivity subscales were examined as mediators of the genetic effect on alcohol consumption. The results from structural equation modeling showed that among EA students, both DPW-PRS and RISK-PRS had significant positive effects on alcohol consumption above and beyond UPPS dimensions and control variables. RISK-PRS explained larger portion of variance in alcohol consumption than DPW-PRS. RISK-PRS showed a significant indirect effect on alcohol consumption through sensation seeking and lack of perseverance; no significant indirect effect of DPW-PRS was found. No significant association of either PRS or alcohol consumption was found for AA participants.The current results found that PRS related to more broadly defined risky behaviors predicted alcohol consumption across college years and that this association was partially mediated via dimensions of impulsivity.
55. Chartier KG, Tiarsmith EC, O'Shea T, Kendler KS, Dick DM. College students' use of strategies to hide facial flushing: A target for alcohol education. J Am Coll Health. 2020 Nov-Dec;68(8):922-926. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2019.1640224.
Abstract: Alcohol-related facial flushing occurs in individuals who are unable to metabolize ethanol effectively and is associated with increased cancer risk. This study describes college students' understanding of the meaning of flushing for how much alcohol a person should drink and their use of over-the-counter medications and other strategies to reduce its visible effects. Participants:The sample includes 335 White and Asian college students who reported facial flushing after an alcoholic drink. Methods: Students completed an online survey in the spring of their junior year. Results: Most students reported that flushing had no special meaning for drinking or that they did not know what it meant. Six percent reported ever using strategies to hide facial flushing; they were mostly Asian, and those using these strategies drank more alcohol. Conclusions: Findings identify a need for targeted alcohol education with Asian college students who drink alcohol despite experiencing the flushing response.
56. Bountress KE, Bustamante D, Sheerin C, Dick DM; Spit for Science Working Group, Amstadter AB. Pre-College and New Onset College Interpersonal Trauma as Predictors of Baseline and Changes in Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms during College. J Interpers Violence. 2021 Nov;36(21-22):10842-10852. doi: 10.1177/0886260519883864.
Abstract: College is a high-risk time for interpersonal trauma (IPT) exposure (e.g., physical or sexual abuse/assault), a potent form of trauma exposure. College is also a high-risk time for alcohol misuse, as use begins and increases in adolescence and peaks in the early/mid-20s. In addition, although IPT is associated with alcohol misuse, less clear is whether distal (prior to college) or proximal (during college) IPT impacts alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms at the beginning of college and/or changes in symptoms during college. Data were collected from a large, longitudinal study of college students, attending a large public university in the southeast, who had reported lifetime IPT as well as lifetime alcohol use. Participants in the current study were 18.5 years old (SD = 0.46), primarily female (67.2%), and of diverse racial backgrounds (e.g., 53.4% White, 18.5% Black, 12.7% Asian, 15.4% Other). Latent change score analyses were employed to test the impact of IPT prior to college and IPT during college on initial levels of, and changes in, AUD symptoms during college. Those who experienced an IPT prior to college reported more AUD symptoms at the beginning of college and less changes in AUD symptoms during the first year of college. Those who experienced an IPT in the first 2 and last 2 years of college reported greater increases in symptoms in the first 2 and last 2 years of college, respectively. Findings suggest that prevention and intervention efforts for those who experience an IPT prior to or during college may be useful in reducing AUD symptoms during that time period.
57. Su J, Kuo SI, Derlan CL, Hagiwara N, Guy MC, Dick DM. Racial Discrimination and Alcohol Problems among African American Young Adults: Examining the Moderating Effects of Racial Socialization by Parents and Friends. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2020 Apr;26(2):260-270. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000294. Epub 2019 Jul 22.
Abstract: Racial discrimination is a stressor that may put African Americans at risk for alcohol use and related problems. We examined whether experiences of blatant (racist events) and subtle (racial microaggressions) forms of racial discrimination were associated with alcohol consumption and alcohol problems among African American young adults, and whether childhood/adolescence racial socialization by parents and friends moderated these associations. The sample included 383 African American young adults (Mage = 20.65, SD = 2.28; 81% female) who completed an electronic survey in Fall, 2017. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were conducted in Mplus. Experiences of racist events and racial microaggressions were associated with higher levels of alcohol consumption and more alcohol problems. Racial socialization by friends, but not parents, moderated these associations. Specifically, cultural socialization by friends buffered the effect of racist events on alcohol consumption and alcohol problems, whereas promotion of mistrust by friends exacerbated the effect of racial microaggressions on alcohol problems. Both blatant and subtle forms of racial discrimination were associated with higher risk for alcohol use or problems among African American young adults. Racial socialization by friends while growing up may play an important role in alcohol use outcomes during young adulthood. Findings highlight the importance of considering different forms of racial discrimination and emphasize the unique roles of racial socialization across different social contexts (i.e., parent and peers or friends) in relation to psychosocial outcomes among African American individuals.
58. Paltell, K., Smith, R., Kansky, J., Cox, C., Amstadter, A., Dick, D., Salvatore, J.*, & Berenz, E.C.* . Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms, relationship quality, and risky alcohol use among trauma-exposed college students. (*Co-last author). Addictive Behaviors. Volume 102, March 2020, 106216
Abstract: Individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at increased risk for alcohol use disorder (AUD), in part due to the use of alcohol as a coping strategy. High quality romantic relationships can buffer individuals against risk for psychopathology; however, no studies have evaluated romantic relationship quality in risk for PTSD-AUD in non-clinical samples. The current study examined the main and interactive effects of PTSD symptoms and romantic relationship quality on alcohol consumption (i.e., past 30-day alcohol use quantity, frequency, and binge frequency) and alcohol-related consequences in a sample of 101 college students (78.2% women) with a history of interpersonal trauma (i.e., physical/sexual assault, excluding intimate partner violence) who reported being in a romantic relationship. Relationship quality significantly moderated the association between PTSD symptom severity and alcohol use quantity (B = −0.972, p = .016) and alcohol-related consequences (B = −0.973, p = .009), such that greater PTSD symptoms were associated with greater alcohol use quantity and consequences among those low, but not high, in relationship quality. The interaction between PTSD symptom severity and relationship quality in relation to binge drinking was marginally significant (B = −0.762, p = .063), and relationship quality did not significantly moderate the association between PTSD symptom severity and alcohol use frequency. The main effect of PTSD symptom severity was significantly associated with alcohol-related consequences, but no other alcohol outcomes; the main effect of relationship quality was not associated with alcohol use outcomes or consequences. High quality romantic relationships may serve as a buffer for young adults at risk for alcohol problems
59. Hiler M, Spindle TR, Dick D, Eissenberg T, Breland A, Soule E. Reasons for transition from electronic cigarette use to cigarette smoking among young adult college students. J Adolesc Health. 2020 Jan;66(1):56-63.
Abstract: Longitudinal studies indicate that e-cigarette use among youth and young adults is associated with cigarette smoking initiation. The purpose of this study was to identify reasons why nonsmoking young adults transition from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking. The study used concept mapping (CM), a mixed-method participatory approach. Fifty-five college students who endorsed initiation of e-cigarettes before cigarettes (lifetime e-cigarette uses ≥ 100 and ≥ 100 cigarettes in lifetime) completed at least one part of the study. In an online program, participants brainstormed (n = 54) statements describing reasons for transition from e-cigarette use to cigarette smoking, sorted statements (n = 46) into conceptually similar categories, and rated (n = 47) how true each statement was for them. Participants generated 60 unique statements, and multidimensional scaling analysis generated eight thematic clusters characterizing reasons for transition which included the following: "Sharing with Others," "Psychological Coping," "Cigarette Appeal," "Reinforcing Effects of Cigarettes," "Accessibility," "Social Influence," "Vaping Stigma," and "Vaping Deficiencies." Participants rated "Sharing with Others" and "Psychological Coping" highest (most true) and "Vaping Deficiencies" lowest (least true). For college students, the ability to share cigarettes with peers and access cigarettes from peers and smoking for stress/anxiety management were among the top reasons for transition.Results suggest that tailored prevention efforts aimed at reducing cigarette smoking uptake among college students who use tobacco as a means for psychological coping or social facilitation may be warranted. Furthermore, regulatory decisions aimed at limiting cigarette appeal, reinforcing effects, and accessibility may be relevant to reducing transition
60. Hawn, S.E., Bountress, K.E., Sheerin, C., Spit for Science Working Group, Dick, D., Amstadter, A.B. Trauma-related drinking to cope: A novel approach to the self-medication model. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 2020 May;34(3):465-476. doi: 10.1037/adb0000552.
Abstract: Multiple etiological models have been proposed to explain posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) comorbidity, but the predominant model to date is the "drinking to cope" self-medication model. Despite its popularity, the self-medication model lacks rigorous empirical support related to inconsistencies and methodological limitations, particularly the failure to operationalize drinking to cope with trauma symptoms specifically. The present study sought to measure trauma-related drinking to cope (TRD) in order to provide a more specific test of the self-medication model among a representative sample of 1,896 undergraduates with a history of trauma exposure and alcohol use. Using a model-building approach in Mplus, a correlated multiple mediator model tested the association between PTSD symptoms and alcohol use problems (AUPs) through TRD and more generalized drinking to cope motives (as assessed by the coping subscale of the Drinking Motives Questionnaire; DMQ-Cope) as moderated by sex. Results indicated that, while accounting for the effects of generalized drinking to cope motives, TRD partially mediated the relation between PTSD symptoms and AUPs and that this relationship was stronger for males than for females. With the exception of moderation by sex, results were substantiated using longitudinal data. Findings were consistent with the self-medication model, suggesting that TRD motives may serve as a mechanism through which PTSD symptoms influence AUPs. TRD may serve as a more specific screening tool for AUP risk among individuals endorsing PTSD symptoms compared with the commonly used DMQ-Cope. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
61. Chen, J., Spleen, A., Adkins, A, Dick, D., Warren, C., Mountcastle, S., The Spit for Science working group. Self-reported Food Allergy and Intolerance Among College Undergraduates: Associations with Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy 36:1, 1-22, DOI: 10.1080/87568225.2020.1753610
Abstract: To determine the prevalence of food allergy (FA) and intolerance and estimate associations with anxiety and depression in a diverse sample of young adults. Undergraduates at a major university (n = 1,574) enrolled in the Spit for Science cohort study. Participants completed self-report assessments of current FA and/or intolerance as well as anxiety and depressive symptoms using the Symptom Checklist-90. The estimated prevalence of any current, physician-diagnosed FA was 7.6% (n = 119), while 14.6% (n = 227) reported at least one food intolerance. The most reported allergies were tree nut (3.1%) and peanut (2.6%). Any FA was associated with higher depressive symptom scores (β: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.03–1.54). Any food intolerance was associated with higher depressive (β: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.70–1.83) and anxiety (β: 1.19; 95% CI: 0.71–1.67) symptom scores. Living with a FA and/or intolerance is associated with greater internalizing symptoms among a cohort of US college students.
62. Hawn, S.E., Aggen, S.H., Cusack, S.E., Spit for Science Working Group, Dick, D.M., & Amstadter, A.B. Examination of a novel measure of trauma-related drinking to cope. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2020 Oct;76(10):1938-1964. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22972. Epub 2020 Jun 1. PMID: 32478444; PMCID: PMC7721863.
Abstract: The present study sought to fill a gap in the current literature by developing a concise self-report questionnaire assessing drinking motives specific to coping with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This new four-item questionnaire is called the Trauma Related Drinking questionnaire (TRD). Using structural equation modeling, the latent structure of the TRD items and how they relate to other variables of interest were explored among a sample of 1,896 college undergraduates from a large public university. Broadly, we found evidence to suggest that TRD is a more specific measure of drinking to cope motives compared to the commonly used Drinking Motives Questionnaire coping subscale. Additionally, findings demonstrate support for the external validation of TRD, both with regard to PTSD and alcohol consumption and related problems. Results support the use of TRD in future self-medication research and as a clinically useful screening tool.
63. Dzierzewski, J.M., Ravyts, S.G., Dautovich, N.D., Perez, E., Schreiber, D., Rybarczyk, B.D., & Spit for Science Working Group. Mental Health and Sleep Disparities in an Urban College Sample: A Longitudinal Examination of White and Black Students. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2020 Oct;76(10):1972-1983. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22974. Epub 2020 May 14. PMID: 32410237; PMCID: PMC7487046.
Abstract: Racial disparities in sleep may be consequential among college students given high rates of dysfunctional sleep among this population. The present study sought to investigate whether disparities in sleep explain existing mental health disparities. Data included secondary analysis of a college risk behaviors and health study (n = 1242, mean age = 18.5). Race was dichotomized as White or Black, excluding all others, with participants completing measures of sleep at baseline and measures of depression and anxiety at follow-up 1 to 2 years later. Compared to White students, Black students were more likely to report lower rates of depression and anxiety, but poorer sleep outcomes. Mediation analyses revealed that sleep partially mediated (suppressed) the association between race and depressive and anxiety symptoms. Results indicate that disparities in sleep may play an important role in the association between race and mental health symptoms among college students. Future health disparity research would benefit from exploring the potentially bidirectional relationship between sleep and mental health symptoms among college students.
64. Ksinan A., Spindle T., Thomas, N., Eissenburg T., Spit for Science Working Group, Dick, D.M. E-cigarette Use is Prospectively Associated with Initiation of Cannabis among College Students. Addictive Behaviors. 2020 Jul;106:106312. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2020.106312. Epub 2020 Jan 11. PMID: 32120197; PMCID: PMC7193904.
Abstract: E-cigarettes have dramatically increased in popularity among youth. Coincident with expanded legalization, young adults' use of cannabis (marijuana) has also steadily increased in recent years. Use of tobacco products can increase the chances of later cannabis initiation among youth. However, most longitudinal investigations of tobacco and cannabis use patterns have focused on tobacco cigarettes, included adolescents as opposed to young adults, and have only employed two timepoints. The current study examined prospective associations between e-cigarette and cannabis use in a large, diverse college sample assessed over four timepoints (freshman - senior year; N = 4,670). E-cigarette use and cannabis use were modelled in a four-wave cross-lagged model. The results showed significant bidirectional associations between both substances, even after controlling for time-varying levels of depressive symptoms, alcohol use, and polysubstance use, sensation seeking, demographic variables, concurrent associations and previous levels of use. Moreover, the significance of the predictive path from e-cigarette use to later cannabis use remained unchanged when we ran the same model, but restricted the sample to e-cigarette-only users (i.e., never cigarette smokers), whereas only one prospective path from cannabis to e-cigarette use was significant in this subsample. The current findings suggest that the association of e-cigarette use and cannabis use is likely bidirectional, with stronger support for the link from e-cigarette use to later cannabis use, above and beyond cigarette use. As e-cigarettes gain further hold of the tobacco product market share and cannabis legalization continues to expand, data such as these will be critical for informing regulatory decisions for e-cigarettes and cannabis, particularly involving their accessibility to youth and young adults.
65. Caamano-Isornaa, Adkins, A, Aliev, F, Moure-Rodriguez, L, Dick DM & The Spit for Science Working Group. Population attributable fraction of early age of onset of alcohol use for alcohol abuse and dependence: a 3-year follow-up study in college students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020 Mar 24;17(6):2159. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17062159. PMID: 32213910; PMCID: PMC7142956.
Abstract: We aimed to determine the risk factors and associated population attributable fractions (PAFs) for the age of onset of alcohol use and also to identify protective factors. We analyzed follow-up data collected between autumn 2011 and spring 2016 (n = 5170) from the first two cohorts (2011, 2012) of the Spit for ScienceTM project. The dependent variables were alcohol abuse and dependence, and the independent variables were age of drinking onset, residence, ethnicity, religiosity, sexual orientation and work status. We determined the odds ratios (OR) using multilevel logistic regression for repeated measures in SPSSv.20. The early onset of alcohol use was associated with an increased risk of alcohol abuse and dependence among females (OR = 14.98; OR = 11.83) and males (OR = 7.41; OR = 6.24). The PAFs for the early onset of alcohol use in alcohol abuse and dependence were respectively 80.9% and 71.7% in females and 71.0% and 63.5% in males. Among females, being white (OR = 1.58; OR = 1.51), living off-campus (OR = 1.73; OR = 2.76) and working full-time (OR = 1.69; OR = 1.78) were also risk factors. Strong religious beliefs were found to protect males from alcohol abuse (OR = 0.58), while same-gender sexual orientation increased the risk among females (OR = 2.09). Delaying the age of onset by one year would reduce alcohol abuse among young adults.
66. Walker C., Williams, C.D., Cage, J., DeLaney, E.N., Lozado, F.T., The S4S Working Group & Dick, D.M. Associations between Ethnic-Racial Identity and Alcohol Problems among Diverse Emerging Adults Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse. 2022 Apr-Jun;21(2):638-661. doi: 10.1080/15332640.2020.1793865. Epub 2020 Jul 22. PMID: 32697621; PMCID: PMC7928211.
Abstract: Excessive alcohol use and problems during college is a major public health concern, and there are health disparities in patterns of drinking and alcohol-related illnesses based on ethnicity and race. Given the prevalence and disparities in excessive alcohol use and problems and associated negative impacts, it is important to examine potential protective factors such as dimensions of ethnic-racial identity (ERI). Thus, the current study examined how multiple dimensions of ERI were associated with alcohol use and alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms, and how these relations varied by individuals' ethnic-racial group among 1850 diverse emerging adults (M = 18.46, SD = .38). Findings indicated that there were significant differences by race/ethnicity. ERI affirmation was negatively associated with AUD symptoms for Asian individuals and African American individuals, while ERI exploration was positively associated with AUD symptoms among African American individuals. ERI resolution was negatively associated with alcohol use for Latinx individuals and positively associated with alcohol use for Multiracial individuals. Among White individuals, ERI exploration was negatively associated with alcohol use and ERI affirmation was negatively associated with AUD symptoms. Overall, the current study builds on our understanding of nuanced ways in which ethnic-racial identity impacts alcohol problems among emerging adults and highlights areas for future research.
67. Riley TN, DeLaney E, Brown D, Lozada FT, Williams CD, The Spit For Science Working Group, Dick DM. The associations between African American emerging adults' racial discrimination and civic engagement via emotion regulation. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychology. 2021 Apr;27(2):169-175. doi: 10.1037/cdp0000335. Epub 2020 Apr 13. PMID: 32281807.
Abstract: The current study tested direct and indirect associations between racial discrimination and civic engagement via emotion regulation strategies. Differences between males and females were also explored. African American college students (76% female; Mage = 18.42) participating in a university-wide research study provided self-reports of their racial discrimination experiences, use of emotion regulation strategies, and civic engagement attitudes and beliefs. Greater racial discrimination was associated with less use of reappraisal (i.e., thinking about emotions in a different way) and, in turn, use of reappraisal was associated with greater civic engagement attitudes. The same association was found for civic engagement behaviors. However, reappraisal was associated with greater civic engagement behaviors for females and less civic engagement behaviors for males. The current study highlights the need to consider the role of cognitive emotion regulation strategies on college students' sociopolitical development and civic engagement.
68. Cusack SE, Bountress KE, Lind MJ, Hawn SE; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick DM, Amstadter AB. Trauma exposure, alcohol consumption, and sleep quality: a latent growth curve model. J Am Coll Health. 2020 Dec 1:1-9. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1845181. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33258742; PMCID: PMC8166935.
Abstract: This study examined the relations among precollege trauma exposure, alcohol use upon entering college, growth in alcohol use, and sleep quality in a sample of undergraduate students. Participants were 932 students from a large, urban, public university. Participants completed a survey upon entering college and then subsequent follow-up surveys each Spring semester. Precollege trauma exposure was associated with both baseline and growth in alcohol use, whereby higher levels of trauma were associated with higher baseline alcohol use, but with less steep increases in growth rate, as compared to those with lower levels of trauma. Baseline alcohol use was associated with sleep quality whereby those with higher levels of consumption demonstrated worsened sleep quality. This study provides longitudinal evidence for the relations among trauma, alcohol use, and sleep quality. Although the relationship between trauma and alcohol is well-established, further work is needed to identify how this relationship impacts additional health outcomes.
69. Hawn SE, Cusack SE, George B, Sheerin CM; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick D, Amstadter AB. Diagnostic validity of the PC-PTSD screen in college students. J Am Coll Health. 2020 Nov 30:1-11. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2020.1841768. PMID: 33253061 PMCID: PMC8164645
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to test the diagnostic validity of the Primary Care PTSD screen (PC-PTSD) in a generalizable college sample and to examine potential differences in its predictive efficacy according to sex and racial/ethnic identity. An exploratory aim was to determine whether PC-PTSD symptom items differentially predicted PTSD diagnostic status. Participants: Data from 475 undergraduates were analyzed. Methods: Logistic regressions were conducted to examine the relationship between different PC-PTSD endorsement thresholds and probable PTSD among various subsamples. Follow-up tests of diagnostic accuracy were performed. Results: Results of this study indicated that the PC-PTSD identified PTSD among college students with poor accuracy. Furthermore, the PC-PTSD did not demonstrate equal predictive validity across neither sex nor racial/ethnic identity. Endorsement of reexperiencing symptoms appeared to be the strongest predictor of PTSD. Conclusions: Results highlight the clear need for a validated PTSD screener effective for a diverse college population.
70. DeLaney EN, Williams CD, Mosley DV, Hawn SE, Dick DM. The Associations Between Sexual Victimization and Health Outcomes Among LGBQA College Students: Examining the Moderating Role of Social Support. J Interpers Violence. 2022 Jun;37(11-12):NP10393-NP10417. doi: 10.1177/0886260520978179. Epub 2020 Dec 8. PMID: 33289453.
Abstract: Prior studies have demonstrated that sexual minority college students are two to four times more likely to experience sexual victimization (e.g., sexual assault and/or unwanted or uncomfortable sexual experiences) compared to their heterosexual counterparts. However, research that has focused on the detrimental effects of sexual victimization on health outcomes has paid more attention to heterosexual college samples and community-based adults. Understanding how sexual victimization influences mental health and substance use outcomes among lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and asexual (LGBQA) emerging adults in college is warranted given that this developmental period represents a critical risk period for trauma exposure, risk behavior, and psychological distress. Thus, the current study tested how sexual victimization was associated with depressive symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and alcohol use disorder (AUD) symptoms among 234 diverse college students who self-identified as LGBQA. Additionally, social support was tested as a moderator. Findings indicated that sexual victimization was related to greater depressive symptoms, PTSD symptoms, and AUD symptoms. In addition, perceived social support moderated the relation between sexual victimization and depressive symptoms, however, in a direction contrary to hypotheses. In particular, higher sexual victimization was associated with greater depressive symptoms among LGBQA students with higher levels of social support (b = .29, p = .00), and was not significant among LGBQA students with lower levels of social support (b = .13, p = .26). The current study highlights the need to consider the detrimental effects of sexual victimization on health outcomes among LGBQA college students, as well as the mechanisms through which social support may be influencing these relations.
71. Driver MN, Kuo SI, Dick DM, On Behalf Of The Spit For Science Working Group. Interest in Genetic Feedback for Alcohol Use Disorder and Related Substance Use and Psychiatric Outcomes among Young Adults. Brain Sci. 2020 Dec 18;10(12):1007. doi: 10.3390/brainsci10121007. PMID: 33352962; PMCID: PMC7766419.
Abstract: An exponential growing number of individuals are accessing genetic risk information via direct to consumer companies. Alcohol dependence is the third most accessed genetic risk score on a publicly available direct to consumer website. Better understanding of the degree to which individuals are interested in receiving personalized genetic feedback, the factors that relate to interest, and genetic knowledge will be critical to lay the foundation for precision medicine initiatives, especially for substance use and psychiatric outcomes, where less is known. To assess interest in receiving genetic feedback for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and understanding of genetic concepts related to psychiatric conditions, we conducted a survey with participants recruited from a registry that enrolled incoming cohorts of freshmen at an urban public university; 205 participants (76.5% female; 58.9% self-reported as White; Mage = 24.48 years) completed the survey. Results indicated that participants are highly interested in receiving genetic feedback for AUD (79.0%) but there is a lack of understanding of complex genetic concepts in a sizable proportion of the sample (25.4%). Additional research is needed to assess how to address this lack of knowledge before genetic feedback for AUD can be returned in a way that benefits the individual.
72. Thomas NS, Salvatore JE, Gillespie NA, Aliev F, Ksinan AJ, Dick DM; Spit for Science Working Group. Cannabis use in college: Genetic predispositions, peers, and activity participation. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2021 Feb 1;219:108489. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2020.108489. Epub 2020 Dec 21. PMID: 33373877; PMCID: PMC8369492.
Abstract: Among adult college students in the US, cannabis use is common and associated with considerable negative consequences to health, cognition, and academic functioning, underscoring the importance of identifying risk and protective factors. Cannabis use is influenced by genetic factors, but genetic risk is not determinative. Accordingly, it is critical to identify environments that reduce risk among those who are at elevated genetic risk. This study examined the impact of polygenic scores for cannabis initiation, various forms of social activity participation, and peer deviance on recent cannabis use. Our aim was to test whether these environments moderate genetic risk for cannabis use. Data came from a longitudinal sample of undergraduate college students of European American (EA; NEA = 750) and African American (AA; NAA = 405) ancestry. Generalized estimating equations with a logit link function were used to examine main effects and two-way interactions. Engagement with church activities was associated with lower probability of cannabis use. Peer deviance was associated with higher probability of cannabis use. Engagement with community activities moderated the influence of the polygenic risk score in the EA sample, such that PRS was associated with recent cannabis use among those who never engaged in community activities. This effect did not replicate in AAs, which may have been due to the portability of PRS based on EA discovery samples. Results suggest that community activities may limit the influence of genetic risk, as associations between PRS and cannabis use were only observed among individuals who never engaged in community activities.
73. Barr PB, Salvatore JE, Wetherill L, Anokhin A, Chan G, Edenberg HJ, Kuperman S, Meyers J, Nurnberger J, Porjesz B, Schuckit M, Dick DM. A Family-Based Genome Wide Association Study of Externalizing Behaviors. Behav Genet. 2020 May;50(3):175-183. doi: 10.1007/s10519-020-09999-3. Epub 2020 Apr 1. doi: 10.1007/s10519-020-09999-3. Epub 2020 Apr 1. PMID: 32239439; PMCID: PMC7243710.
Abstract: Shared genetic factors contribute to the high degree of comorbidity among externalizing problems (e.g. substance use and antisocial behavior). We leverage this common genetic etiology to identify genetic influences externalizing problems in participants from the Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (European ancestry = 7568; African ancestry = 3274). We performed a family-based genome-wide association study (GWAS) on externalizing scores derived from criterion counts of five DSM disorders (alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, illicit drug dependence, illicit drug abuse, and either antisocial personality disorder or conduct disorder). We meta analyzed these results with a similar measure of externalizing in an independent sample, Spit for Science (combined sample N = 15,112). We did not discover any robust genome-wide significant signals. Polygenic scores derived from the ancestry-specific GWAS summary statistics predicted externalizing problems in an independent European ancestry sample, but not in those of African ancestry. However, these PRS were no longer significant after adjusting for multiple testing. Larger samples with deep phenotyping are necessary for the discovery of SNPs related to externalizing problems.
74. Martin CE, Ksinan AJ, Moeller FG, Dick D; Spit for Science Working Group. Sex-specific risk profiles for substance use among college students. Brain Behav. 2021 Feb;11(2):e01959. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1959. Epub 2020 Nov 21. PMID: 33222410; PMCID: PMC7882166.
Abstract: Growing evidence indicates sex and gender differences exist in substance use. Framed by a lifecourse perspective, we explored prospectively by sex the effects of distal and proximal factors on the initiation of drug use in college. College students without prior drug use (n = 5,120 females; n = 2,951 males) were followed longitudinally across 4 years. Analyses were estimated as a multigroup survival analysis separately by sex within a latent variable SEM framework with illicit drug use (6 or more times in past year) as the latent factor. More males initiated drug use (8.5%) than females (6.4%, χ2 (1) = 10.351, p = .001), but less so for Black males (AOR 0.33, 95% CI [0.18, 0.60]) and females (0.35 [0.23, 0.54]). Students initiating drug use more likely included students smoking cigarettes at baseline (males 1.40 [1.23, 1.59]; females 1.43 [1.24, 1.64]), using alcohol (males 1.04 [1.02, 1.06]; females 1.04 [1.02, 1.06]), or having cannabis using peers (males 1.79 [1.52, 2.11]; females 1.70 [1.49, 1.93]). Impulsivity domain associations differed by sex [negative urgency: females (1.23 [1.02, 1.49) and sensation seeking: males (1.33 [1.01, 1.75])]. History of unwanted/uncomfortable sexual experience predicted drug use for males (1.60 [1.09, 2.35]) and females (1.95 [1.45, 2.62]) but physical assault only for females (1.45 [1.08, 1.94]). Mood symptoms predicted drug use only for males [depression (0.73 [0.56, 0.95]); anxiety (1.40 [1.04, 1.89])]. Risk factors for initiating drug use during college differ by sex. As substance use during early age predisposes one for addiction, sex- and gender-informed interventions for young adults are needed.
75. Bountress KE, Hawn SE, Dick DM, Amstadter AB; Spit for Science Working Group. Latent Profiles of Alcohol Consumption Among College Students Exposed to Trauma. J Addict Nurs. 2021 Jan-Mar 01;32(1):3-13. doi: 10.1097/JAN.0000000000000379. PMID: 33646712; PMCID: PMC7927796.
Abstract: Alcohol use/misuse is a costly public health problem, particularly among college students in the United States. Alcohol use tends to increase during adolescence and peaks in the early/mid-20s; however, there is significant heterogeneity among alcohol use during the college years. Several studies applying a mixture modeling framework to extract latent profiles of alcohol consumption have been conducted. However, none to our knowledge has included only those exposed to trauma, a group known to be at risk for alcohol misuse. The aim of this longitudinal study (n = 1,186) was to identify profiles of alcohol consumption and their associations with demographic and trauma-related constructs. Method: Data were collected from a larger study of college students attending a large public university. Participants in the current study were, on average, 18.46 years old at study entry, primarily female (69.6%), and of diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds (e.g., 48.8% White, 20.4% Black, 16.8% Asian). Results: Results suggest evidence for four latent profiles. These classes include an initially high increasing, an initially high decreasing, an initially low decreasing, and an initially low increasing, the last of which had not been found. Using analyses of variance, profile membership was associated with number of traumas, probable posttraumatic stress disorder, broad drinking motives, and trauma-specific drinking-to-cope motives. Conclusions: Results suggest that drinking motives and trauma-related factors are important correlates of these latent alcohol profiles. Work clarifying the longitudinal interrelations between profile membership and these factors is needed to help inform more effective prevention and intervention efforts.
76. DeLaney EN, Williams CD, Jones SCT, et al. Black College Students’ Ethnic Identity and Academic Achievement: Examining Mental Health and Racial Discrimination as Moderators. Journal of Black Psychology. 2022;48(1):100-129. doi:10.1177/00957984211034268
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to test the role that components of ethnic identity (i.e., exploration and resolution) play in academic achievement, and to examine mental health, racial discrimination, and gender as moderators of these associations among Black college students. Participants included 341 college students who identified as a Black/African American female or male (M age = 18.4; SD = .34), and completed measures of ethnic identity, perceived racial discrimination, and mental health. Results indicated that higher levels of ethnic identity exploration were associated with a lower grade point average (GPA) among males with higher levels of depressive symptoms, but not among males with lower levels of depressive symptoms. Similarly, higher levels of ethnic identity resolution were associated with a lower GPA among males with higher levels of anxiety symptoms, but not males with lower levels of anxiety symptoms. Findings may have implications for clinical and educational interventions by highlighting the nuanced ways that ethnic identity, mental health, and gender affect Black college students’ academic achievement.
77. Arends RM, Pasman JA, Verweij KJH, Derks EM, Gordon SD, Hickie I, Thomas NS, Aliev F, Zietsch BP, van der Zee MD, Mitchell BL, Martin NG, Dick DM, Gillespie NA, de Geus EJC, Boomsma DI, Schellekens AFA, Vink JM. Associations between the CADM2 gene, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and self-control: A phenome-wide association study. Addict Biol. 2021 Nov;26(6):e13015. doi: 10.1111/adb.13015. Epub 2021 Feb 18. PMID: 33604983; PMCID: PMC8596397.
Abstract: Risky behaviors, such as substance use and unprotected sex, are associated with various physical and mental health problems. Recent genome-wide association studies indicated that variation in the cell adhesion molecule 2 (CADM2) gene plays a role in risky behaviors and self-control. In this phenome-wide scan for risky behavior, it was tested if underlying common vulnerability could be (partly) explained by pleiotropic effects of this gene and how large the effects were. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-level and gene-level association tests within four samples (25 and Up, Spit for Science, Netherlands Twin Register, and UK Biobank and meta-analyses over all samples (combined sample of 362,018 participants) were conducted to test associations between CADM2, substance- and sex-related risk behaviors, and various measures related to self-control. We found significant associations between the CADM2 gene, various risky behaviors, and different measures of self-control. The largest effect sizes were found for cannabis use, sensation seeking, and disinhibition. Effect sizes ranged from 0.01% to 0.26% for single top SNPs and from 0.07% to 3.02% for independent top SNPs together, with sufficient power observed only in the larger samples and meta-analyses. In the largest cohort, we found indications that risk-taking proneness mediated the association between CADM2 and latent factors for lifetime smoking and regular alcohol use. This study extends earlier findings that CADM2 plays a role in risky behaviors and self-control. It also provides insight into gene-level effect sizes and demonstrates the feasibility of testing mediation. These findings present a good starting point for investigating biological etiological pathways underlying risky behaviors.
78. Williams KDA, Adkins A, Kuo SI, LaRose JG, Utsey SO, Guidry JPD; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick D, Carlyle KE. Mental health disorder symptom prevalence and rates of help-seeking among University-Enrolled, emerging adults. J Am Coll Health. 2021 Mar 18:1-8. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1873791. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33735596; PMCID: PMC8448792.
Abstract: Examine mental health symptom prevalence and rates of campus services utilization among Black male, White male and Black female college students. Participants. 2500 students from an ongoing, student survey at a public university; launched in 2011. Methods. Measures included data for anxiety and depressive symptoms and utilization of campus health services (counseling center, health services, etc.). Descriptive analyses determined prevalence and utilization rates. Mann Whitney U tests compared prevalence. Chi-squared tests compared utilization rates. Results. Anxiety prevalence: greater than 60% of students from each ethnic group reported symptoms; reporting rates decreased significantly for Black men (49.6%); p < 0.001. Depression prevalence: greater than 80% reported symptoms; there were significant differences in reporting between Black men and Black women (72.7% vs. 87.1%, p < 0.001). Utilization: Black men utilized counseling services less than White men (20.4% vs. 37.8%, p = 0.024). Conclusion. Black men report depressive and anxiety symptoms but underutilize campus health resources.
79. Smith RL, Dick DM, Amstadter A, Thomas N; Spit for Science Working Group, Salvatore JE. A longitudinal study of the moderating effects of romantic relationships on the associations between alcohol use and trauma in college students. Addiction. 2021 Nov;116(11):3008-3018. doi: 10.1111/add.15490. Epub 2021 Apr 22. PMID: 33886135; PMCID: PMC8492481.
Abstract: Background and aims: College students report high levels of alcohol use, which can be exacerbated by interpersonal trauma exposure (IPT). Romantic relationships may represent salient contexts for moderating associations between IPT and alcohol use. We examined whether relationship status, partner alcohol use and relationship satisfaction moderated associations between IPT and alcohol use, and whether these associations varied in a sex-specific manner. Design: University-wide longitudinal survey of college students. Setting: Large, urban public university in mid-Atlantic United States. Participants: We used two subsets of participants (n = 5673 and 3195) from the Spit for Science project, a longitudinal study of college students. Participants completed baseline assessments during the autumn of their freshman year and were invited to complete follow-up assessments every spring thereafter. Participants were included in the present study if they completed surveys at baseline and at least one follow-up assessment (meanfollow-ups = 1.70, range = 1-4). Measurements: Predictors included precollege and college-onset IPT, relationship status, partner alcohol use, relationship satisfaction and sex. Alcohol consumption was the primary outcome of interest. Pre-college IPT was measured at baseline and all other measures were assessed at each follow-up. Findings: Individuals with pre-college IPT consumed more alcohol than those without IPT, but this was mitigated for those in relationships (β = -0.15, P = 0.046, 95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.29, 0.00). Individuals with college-onset IPT consumed more alcohol than those without IPT, and this was more pronounced for those with higher partner alcohol use (β = -0.18, P = 0.001, 95% CI = -0.29, -0.07). Relationship satisfaction was not a significant moderator of the associations between IPT and alcohol use (Ps > 0.05 and 95% CIs include 0). Conclusions: Involvement in relationships, but not relationship satisfaction, appears to reduce the effects of interpersonal trauma exposure (IPT) on alcohol use among US college students, while high partner alcohol use appears to exacerbate it. The moderating effects of relationship characteristics depend on the developmental timing of IPT.
80. Williams KDA, Adkins AE, Kuo SI, LaRose JG, Utsey SO, Guidry JPD; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick D, Carlyle KE. Risk, Protective, and Associated Factors of Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms and Campus Health Services Utilization Among Black Men on a College Campus. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2022 Apr;9(2):505-518. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-00981-1. Epub 2021 Mar 8. PMID: 33686626; PMCID: PMC8423855.
Abstract: Objective: The aim of this study is to analyze relationships among social and environmental determinants serving as risk, protective, and important covariate factors for mental health risk and help-seeking among Black men on a college campus. Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted utilizing an ongoing, campus-wide survey at a large, urban, public university. Measures included depressive and anxiety symptoms; campus service utilization; risk factors (e.g., financial status); protective factors (social support/religiosity); and additional covariates (substance use/GPA). Multiple linear regressions were conducted to examine relationships between these factors, symptoms and help-seeking. Results: Data is included for 681 students. Findings indicated that stressful life events were associated with higher levels of anxiety symptoms (B = 0.39, p < 0.001) and depressive symptoms (B = 0.33, p = 0.013). Cannabis use (B = 1.14, p = .020) was also associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. We found that financial status (B = 0.21, p = 0.041) was positively associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms and endorsement of religiosity was associated with lower levels anxiety (B = - 0.23, p = 0.019) and depressive symptoms (B = - 0.32, p = 0.035). Religiosity predicted lower utilization of campus health services. Conclusions: The key findings indicated that Black men's mental health is negatively influenced by stressful live events and cannabis use. As religiosity was associated with lower levels of symptoms and utilization, it may be beneficial to assess this in future work. Further research is needed to address and improve mental health and help-seeking among these men.
81. Williams CD, Hood KB, Moreno O, et al. The Impact of COVID-19 Disruptions and Perceived Discrimination on Well-Being and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Testing the Moderating Role of Exercise Among African American and Asian American Emerging Adults. Emerging Adulthood. 2021;9(5):506-515. doi:10.1177/21676968211038793
Abstract: The current study tested whether COVID-19 disruptions and perceived discrimination were related to mental health (i.e., posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD] symptoms and emotional, psychological, and social well-being), and whether exercise moderated relations. Additionally, we tested whether findings varied by ethnicity/race. Participants were 368 African American and Asian American emerging adults (Mage = 19.92, SD = .34). Findings did not vary by ethnicity/race. COVID-19 disruptions predicted poorer emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and more PTSD symptoms. Discrimination predicted more PTSD symptoms. Exercise was associated with better emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and moderated the relation between COVID-19 disruptions and emotional well-being. At low levels of exercise, COVID-19 disruptions predicted poorer emotional well-being, but this relation was not significant at high levels of exercise. Findings highlight that discrimination and disruptions during the pandemic negatively affect African American and Asian American emerging adults’ mental health, but that exercise plays an important protective role.
82. Bountress KE, Cusack SE, Conley AH, Aggen SH, Vassileva J, Dick DM, Amstadter AB; Spit for Science Working Group. Unpacking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: identifying structural domains. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2021 Jun 24;12(1):1932296. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2021.1932296. PMID: 34221252; PMCID: PMC8231405.
Abstract: Background: The novel coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic is a collective crisis that imposed an abrupt and unprecedented impact on college students, as universities were closed with little warning. Paired with the challenges associated with physical distancing (e.g. economic stress, job loss, food insecurity, housing challenges) and the simultaneous need to balance continued and new academic demands, impact will be wide-ranging. It is critical to determine the structure of the impact of this heterogeneous stressor (e.g. health concerns, pandemic worry, financial concerns) for prevention and intervention planning. Objective: Through an existing recruitment pipeline we were in a unique position to study the wide-ranging reach of this pandemic in a cohort of students for whom their university experiences were like no other cohort in history. Method: Data were collected from students who were in their third year of college during the onset of the pandemic; of the N = 1,899 in the cohort who were invited to participate in this COVID-related survey, 897 (47.2%) completed measures of impact between May and July of 2020. Results: A series of confirmatory and exploratory models were fit to examine the structure of the pandemic-related domains. Following estimation of a single-factor model, a correlated five factors model, as well as two second-order factor structures, the five correlated factors (exposure, worry, housing/food instability, social media, substance use) model was found to represent the data most appropriately, while producing an interpretable solution. Conclusions: These measurement model analyses set the stage for future research to examine how these correlated factors impact psychiatric, substance, and academic outcomes in this vulnerable population.
83. Taylor NL, Su J; Spit for Science Working Group, Dick DM. Depressive Symptoms and Drinking to Cope in Relation to Alcohol Use Outcomes among White and Black/African American College Students. Subst Use Misuse. 2022;57(5):708-718. doi: 10.1080/10826084.2022.2034871. Epub 2022 Feb 12. PMID: 35156525.
Abstract: Objective: Prior research shows that Black/African American adults experience more negative alcohol use consequences than White adults, despite lower alcohol consumption. Research also shows that Black/African Americans experience higher rates of depression, which can increase risk for alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD) through drinking to cope. We examined associations between depressive symptoms and drinking to cope with alcohol consumption and AUD symptoms among White and Black/African American college students. Methods: Participants completed an online survey during the fall and spring semester of their first year of college (N = 2,168, 62.8% female, 75.8% White). Path analyses were conducted to examine whether depressive symptoms and drinking to cope mediated the association between race/ethnicity and alcohol use outcomes, and whether race/ethnicity moderated the associations between depressive symptoms, drinking to cope, and alcohol use outcomes. Results: Results indicated that Black/African Americans had lower levels of depressive symptoms, which were associated with lower drinking to cope, and in turn associated with lower alcohol consumption and AUD symptoms. Multigroup analysis indicated that the pattern of associations between depressive symptoms, drinking to cope, and alcohol use outcomes were largely similar between White and Black/African American college students and between males and females, except that the association between depressive symptoms and drinking to cope appeared to be stronger for Whites than for Black/African American students. Conclusion: Depressive symptoms and drinking to cope are risk factors in relation to alcohol use outcomes among White and Black/African American college students and partially account for the link between race/ethnicity and alcohol use outcomes.
84. Hicks, T. A., Chartier, K. G., Buckley, T. D., Reese, D., Working Group, T., Vassileva, J., Dick, D. M., Amstadter, A. B., Peterson, R. E., & Moreno, O. (2022). Divergent changes: abstinence and higher-frequency substance use increase among racial/ethnic minority young adults during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 48(1), 88–99. https://doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2021.1995401
Abstract: Background: Identifying factors influencing substance use among racial/ethnic minorities (REM) is important given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this population. Objectives: We examined factors in four domains and hypothesized that poor mental health, negative coping behaviors, negative environmental aspects, and belonging to more vulnerable social groups would be associated with increased substance use during the pandemic. Methods: Multiple regression was applied to longitudinal data from a college sample assessed prior (fall 2017 to spring 2019) and during (spring 2020) the pandemic (n=323; 81.5% cisgender women; 34.5% African-American, 36.1% Asian-American, 15.5% Hispanic/Latinx, 11.8% multi-racial) to identify factors predicting current alcohol, cannabis, and nicotine use frequency (spring 2020) and change in frequency of use between springs 2019 and 2020. Results: While infrequent substance use (monthly or less) decreased during the pandemic, abstinence rates increased (alcohol 39%; cannabis 18%; nicotine 18%) and higher-frequency alcohol use increased (207%-1600% 2–3 times+/week) compared to spring 2019. The strongest protective factor was change in living situation during the pandemic, associated with lower current alcohol and cannabis use. Risk factors included a history of trouble with police and impulsivity since the pandemic, both associated with higher current and increased alcohol and cannabis use. REM did not differ on most factors and the outcomes. However, a higher percentage of Asian-Americans than other REM reported living situation changes. Conclusion: Substance use rates diverged during the pandemic, with both increased abstinence and higher-frequency use, attributed mostly to mental health and environmental domain factors with few REM differences.
85. Hicks TA, Bustamante D, Bountress KE, Adkins AE, Svikis DS, Gillespie NA, Dick DM; Spit for Science Working Group, PhD, Amstadter AB. Is pre-college interpersonal trauma associated with cannabis use? J Am Coll Health. 2021 Sep 29:1-8. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1980399. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34586040; PMCID: PMC8960473.
Abstract: Objective: To examine the prevalence and correlates of lifetime cannabis use (i.e., experimental [use 1-5 times] and non-experimental [use ≥ 6 times]) in relation to interpersonal trauma (IPT) above and beyond relevant covariates. Participants: A large (n = 9,889) representative sample of college students at an urban university in the southeastern part of the United States. Methods: Participants were 4 cohorts of first-year college students who completed measures of demographics, cannabis, alcohol, nicotine, and IPT. Associations were estimated using multinomial logistic regressions. Results: The prevalence of lifetime cannabis use was 28.1% and 17.4% for non-experimental and experimental cannabis use, respectively. IPT was significantly associated with experimental and non-experimental cannabis use above and beyond effects of sex, race, cohort, alcohol, and nicotine. Conclusions: Results show that cannabis use is prevalent among college students and is associated with IPT above and beyond associations with sex, race, and other substance use.
86. Ranney, R., Zakeri, S.E., Kevorkian, S. et al. Investigating Relationships Among Distress Tolerance, PTSD Symptom Severity, and Alcohol Use. J Psychopathol Behav Assess 43, 259–270 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-020-09842-3
Abstract: Exposure to trauma (particularly interpersonal trauma), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and low distress tolerance (DT; the ability to tolerate negative internal states), are all related to risk for alcohol use disorders (AUD). The aim of this study was to examine the main and interactive effects of PTSD symptom severity and DT in relation to current (past 30-day) alcohol consumption and binge drinking among emerging adult men and women with a history of sexual/physical assault. Participants were 572 undergraduate students (66% women) with a history of physical/sexual assault endorsing past month alcohol use. Participants completed the Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS), the PTSD Checklist for DSM-V (PCL-5), and an abbreviated Timeline Followback Questionnaire (TLFB), which assessed past 30-day total alcohol consumption (i.e., total number of drinks) and binge drinking frequency (i.e., 5+ drinks [4+ for women]). Negative binomial regression analyses revealed that male sex, higher trauma load (i.e., total number of trauma categories endorsed), and higher PTSD symptom severity were associated with both higher number of total drinks and higher frequency of binge drinking episodes. However, DT was not associated with either alcohol outcome when PTSD symptom severity was entered in the models. The interaction of PTSD symptom severity and DT was not significantly associated with total alcohol consumption or binge drinking. These results highlight the importance of investigating the unique contributions of PTSD symptoms and DT (as well as other transdiagnostic cognitive-affective constructs) in the onset and maintenance of AUD.
87. Thomas, Nathaniel S., Peter B. Barr, Derek L. Hottell, Amy E. Adkins, and Danielle M. Dick. Longitudinal Influence of Behavioral Health, Emotional Health, and Student Involvement on College Student Retention. Journal of College Student Development 62, no. 1 (2021): 2-18. doi:10.1353/csd.2021.0001.
Abstract: Student attrition in higher education is a pervasive problem. In this analysis, we used a longitudinal sample of nearly 10,000 university students to examine the relative importance of social, behavioral, and interpersonal factors on student retention over time. Our findings show that increased depressive symptoms, antisocial behaviors, exposure to stressful events, and substance use are consistently related to increased risk of dropping out of college. Our findings also show that protective factors related to student involvement are most effective in students' earlier years of college. These findings support administrative efforts to maximize student retention by engaging newer students and addressing student behavioral health concerns.
88. Smith RL, Dick DM, Amstadter A, Thomas N; Spit for Science Working Group, Salvatore JE. A longitudinal study examining the associations between interpersonal trauma and romantic relationships among college students. Dev Psychopathol. 2021 Dec 14:1-12. doi: 10.1017/S0954579421001243. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34903311.
Abstract: We examined the associations between the developmental timing of interpersonal trauma exposure (IPT) and three indicators of involvement in and quality of romantic relationships in emerging adulthood: relationship status, relationship satisfaction, and partner alcohol use. We further examined whether these associations varied in a sex-specific manner. In a sample of emerging adult college students (N = 12,358; 61.5% female) assessed longitudinally across the college years, we found precollege IPT increased the likelihood of being in a relationship, while college-onset IPT decreased the likelihood. Precollege and college-onset IPT predicted lower relationship satisfaction, and college-onset IPT predicted higher partner alcohol use. There was no evidence that associations between IPT and relationship characteristics varied in a sex-specific manner. Findings indicate that IPT exposure, and the developmental timing of IPT, may affect college students' relationship status. Findings also suggest that IPT affects their ability to form satisfying relationships with prosocial partners.