Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Psychological Science

Advisor

Ellen W. Leen-Feldner

Committee Member

Lindsay S. Ham

Second Committee Member

William H. Levine

Abstract

A burgeoning literature suggests a linkage between adolescent traumatic event exposure and problematic alcohol use. Research conducted with adults indicates that exposure to trauma-relevant cues elicits a desire to drink; however, no work has examined this association among adolescents. The current study was designed to build upon and extend this line of work. Participants were 72 community-recruited adolescents (Mage = 16.19; 34.7% girls). Trauma-exposed (n = 47) and non-exposed (n = 25) youth were assigned to either a 3-minute experimental (voluntary hyperventilation) or control task (low-arousal picture viewing). Desire to drink was assessed (1) prior to task assignment, and (2) after task completion. An analysis of covariance was utilized to assess post-task desire to drink as a function of group (trauma; no trauma) and task (experimental; control) after accounting for variance associated with baseline desire, negative affect, and frequency of alcohol consumption. Contrary to hypotheses, results indicated no differences in the desire to drink as a function of group, task, or the interaction. Findings are discussed in terms of study design and future efforts to forward this line of work.

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