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Dissertation Roundup: Youth At Play Edition

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Editor’s Note: Frequent Points readers are aware of Jonathon Erlen’s ongoing bibliography of dissertations related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Entries were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but have since moved to the Points blog. Below are a few highlights concerning drugs and young people. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above.

The Effects of Exposure to Violent Lyric Music and Consumption of Alcohol on Aggressiveness

Author: Smith, Buren Steve, Jr.

Abstract: Research suggests that individuals exposed to aggressive models and aggressive materials display increased levels of aggressive behavior. However, with the exception of the television and film media, and the effects of parental models of aggressive behavior, there is a paucity of research addressing the impact of the various modes of exposure to aggressive materials. The present study evaluated the effects of exposure to violent lyric content in Heavy Metal music and consumption of a low dose of alcohol on aggressiveness in a sample of college-age males. Participants were allowed to aggress against a fictitious confederate in a modification of the Buss aggression paradigm via an aggression machine. Analyses revealed that participants exposed to lyrics high in violent content delivered shocks of longer duration to the fictitious confederate relative to those exposed to lyrics low in violent content. Participants also administered shocks of increasing intensities and durations across trials. These results, similar to those found in studies on the effects of visual depictions of violence in television and film media, suggests that aggression effects may also be affected by non-visual media.

Publication year: 1995

Degree date: 1995

Advisor: Gross, Alan

University/institution: The University of Mississippi

The Affective, Behavioral, and Cognitive Correlates of Club Drug Use Among Hispanic College Students

Author: Hanson, Brenda Sue

Abstract: Limited information exists about club drug use among minorities. This study examined potential affective, behavioral, and cognitive correlates of club drug use in a Hispanic college student sample. Participants ( N = 321) completed multiple measures assessing demographic information, acculturation, depression, anxiety, positive and negative affect, alexithymia, polysubstance use, sensation seeking, need for cognition, and prospective memory. Primary analyses included logistic regression models assessing the impact of affective, behavioral, and cognitive correlates on club drug use, while secondary analyses included moderation analyses exploring potential relationships between variables of interest, as well as assessment of univariate relationships between club drug use and study constructs. Eighteen percent of participants indicated club drug use. Increasing age and male gender were consistently related to club drug use. Within the affective model, none of the constructs were significantly related to club drug use; within the behavioral model, significant predictors included marijuana use ( OR = 3.99, p = .01) and sensation seeking ( OR = 1.13, p < .001); and within the cognitive model, prospective memory ( OR = 1.56, p = .01) was a significant correlate of club drug use. Need for cognition was found to moderate the relationship between sensation seeking and club drug use ( OR = 1.01, p = .05). Univariate tests demonstrated additional significant relationships between club drug use and alexithymia, smoking, and polysubstance use. These findings suggest the relative importance of behavioral and cognitive constructs in Hispanic college students’ use of club drugs and provide researchers and healthcare providers avenues for future studies and prevention and intervention program development.

Publication year: 2008

Degree date: 2008

ISBN: 9780549971993

Advisor: Cooper, Theodore V.

University/institution: The University of Texas at El Paso

Department: Psychology

Understanding Patterns of Use and Perceptions of Harm and Addictiveness for the E-Cigarette with a Focus on Youth and Young Adults in Texas

Author: Cooper, Maria R.

Abstract: This study used qualitative and quantitative methods to explore patterns of use and perceptions of harm and addictiveness for the electronic cigarette (or “e-cigarette”). For Paper 1, 50 qualitative interviews were conducted among current e-cigarette users to elucidate certain behavioral and motivational aspects of “real world” use. A particular focus was placed on comparing young adults (19-29 years old) to adults (30-61 years old). Several prominent themes emerged from the key informant interviews. These included product type preferences, flavorings, subjective effects, patterns of use, quantification of use, and motivations for use, among others. These findings provide a deeper understanding of e-cigarette use among young adults and adults, with relevance for future FDA communication campaigns, regulation, and surveillance efforts. For paper 2, secondary data analysis was conducted on baseline data collected in a rapid response surveillance system of Texas middle and high school students’ tobacco use behaviors ( n =3,006). This paper used logistic regression to explore the relationship between perceptions of harm and addictiveness and e-cigarette use, including flavored and non-flavored products. The hypothesis was that youth who used e-cigarettes were more likely to perceive them as less harmful and addictive than youth who did not use them. Findings suggest that low harm perceptions of e-cigarettes was associated with past 30 day e-cigarette use in youth ( p <0.001); these findings were consistent for boys and girls across all strata of race/ethnicity. In addition, the results suggest that youth e-cigarette users are more likely to report flavored e-cigarettes are less harmful than non-flavored e-cigarettes ( p <0.001); this finding was especially strong for females but did not differ by race/ethnicity. Finally, while low perceived addictiveness was not significantly associated with current e-cigarette use, more than half of the respondents reported that e-cigarettes are “not at all” addictive. This finding is especially troubling, given that nicotine is a highly addictive substance whose effects on the developing brain remain unknown. Findings from this paper can be used to inform future FDA communication campaigns, as well as regulatory action specific to flavorings in e-cigarettes. These findings are preliminary, as the entire baseline sample was not available at the time of this analysis; these analyses will be re-run prior to submitting this manuscript for publication. Paper 3 explored the relationship between e-cigarette use and perceptions of harm and addictiveness among a population of college students in Texas (n =5,207). Secondary data analysis was performed using baseline survey data, and multinomial logistic regression was employed. The hypothesis was that individuals who have used e-cigarettes and/or cigarettes perceive e-cigarettes as less harmful and addictive than individuals who have not used either product. In general, lower perceptions of harm and addictiveness were associated with current e-cigarette and/or cigarette use. These findings were consistent for both young adult men and women, as well as across all strata of race/ethnicity. Results from this paper can help to inform future FDA communication campaigns.

Publication year: 2015

Degree date: 2015

ISBN: 9781339262741

Advisor: Harrell, Melissa;  Kelder, Steven

University/institution: The University of Texas School of Public Health

Department: Epidemiology and Disease Control


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