Developmental sources of variation in liability to adolescent substance use disorders

Michael A. Dawes, Seymour M. Antelman, Michael M. Vanyukov, Peter Giancola, Ralph E. Tarter, Elizabeth J. Susman, Ada Mezzich, Duncan B. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


This review provides a synthesis of the literature on the complex sequence of maturational, psychosocial, and neuroadaptive processes that lead to substance use disorders (SUD) in adolescence. A brief overview introduces the concepts of liability to SUD and epigenesis. A theory is presented explaining how affective, cognitive, and behavioral dysregulation in late childhood is exacerbated during early and middle adolescence by family and peer factors, as well as puberty, leading to substance use. Continued exacerbation of the three components of dysregulation by drug and non-drug stressors during late adolescence is posited to result in neuroadaptations that increase the likelihood of developing SUD, particularly in high-risk individuals. Implications for etiologic research as well as clinical and preventive interventions are discussed. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 22 2000


  • Adolescence
  • Affective, cognitive, and behavioral dysregulation
  • Liability
  • Neuroadaptation
  • Puberty
  • Substance use disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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