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On Demand

Impacts of Substance Use on Adolescent Brain and Behavioral Development

You may earn this many credits: 1.0

Monica Luciana, Ph.D.
1.0 Hour
Audio and Video


Note: If you attended this session live (June 2021) and received credit, you cannot attend the on demand session for additional credit.

About the Program:

The adolescent brain is in an active state of change as neural circuitry is refined in anticipation of adulthood. A developing brain may be more vulnerable such that environmental experiences, if sufficiently intense, can alter maturational trajectories. One such experience is substance use. As indicated by a number of recent meta-analyses, executive control processes, which include working memory, cognitive flexibility and numerous aspects of attentional, behavioral and emotional control, are impaired in the context of active substance use disorder. Neural circuitry is also impacted. Many of these recent studies focus on outcomes associated with clinically-significant levels of alcohol and/or cannabis use. But whether these impairments consistently emerge as a consequence of sub-clinical levels of use, or use that begins at early ages, is debated. This talk will review recent findings, including those recently gleaned from large-scale longitudinal studies such as the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, to address these questions. Findings will be discussed in relation to adolescence as a sensitive period of neurodevelopment.

1. Describe mechanisms of neurodevelopment in typically developing adolescents.
2. Apply knowledge of these mechanisms to alterations observed in the context of substance misuse, with an emphasis on the impacts of alcohol and cannabis.
3. Compare what is known about substance-related impacts in adolescents at the neural versus behavioral level.
4. Explain limitations in the literature with respect to whether adolescence can be viewed as a sensitive period for substanceuse-related pathology.
5. Explain current findings regarding adolescence as a sensitive period for substance-use-related neurotoxicity.

This session qualifies for 1 continuing education credit. You must attend the full program to receive continuing education credit.

This session is at the intermediate level and is designed for psychologists and other mental health professionals.

The Minnesota Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Minnesota Psychological Association maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



Monica Luciana, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Monica Luciana, Ph.D., is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Psychology and a founding member of the UMN Center for Neurobehavioral Development and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University Minnesota. She conducts longitudinal studies of brain and behavioral development in adolescents using personality measures, cognitive tests, and brain imaging techniques. Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she co-directs the Twin Hub of the NIH-funded ABCD Consortium as well as the consortium’s workgroup on neurocognition.

The speaker has indicated no conflicts of interest.