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2017 March

Piloting of a Synthetic Control Approach for Assessing Impact of Changes in State Marijuana Policy on Adolescent Substance Use and Related Behaviors.

Katarina Guttmannova, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Charles B. Fleming, M.A. (Co-Investigator)
Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Description: This project will capitalize on existing nationwide state-level data to examine whether state-level marijuana policies affect marijuana and other drug use by youth and related negative consequences of use such as mental health problems and violence. As more states loosen their marijuana-related policies, understanding the effects of these changes in marijuana laws on youth development is critical. Existing evidence regarding the effects of marijuana policies on adolescent outcomes remains mixed.

A number of factors could account for this. Marijuana policies, although easily distinguished by whether they concern medical and recreational marijuana legalization (MML and RML, respectively), vary within these 2 categories across states and within states over time, and extant studies have varied in their definition of policy change under evaluation. Further, studies have differed on comparison groups used to contrast trends before and after policy change, applying counterfactuals that may not be sufficiently equivalent.

The proposed study will pilot an innovative analytic technique, synthetic control modeling, to compare trends in adolescent outcomes from an early adopting MML state with a weighted counterfactual based on data from states that that did not pass such policy but are similar in pre-policy levels of relevant covariates and outcomes. This work will provide critical information to guide planning of prevention and intervention efforts aimed at reducing adolescent problem behaviors in the changing marijuana policy context. It will also increase the research teamís competitiveness for obtaining funding to more widely apply the synthetic control approach to evaluating the effects of marijuana policy.

Intervention Development for Teen Alcohol Use: A Multi-Method and Daily Diary Examination of Substance-free Activities and High-risk Alcohol Use.

Jennifer M. Cadigan, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Christine Lee, PhD, Research Professor (Mentor),
Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Description: Adolescent alcohol use is associated with limited academic performance, career aspirations, adult role attainment, and less engagement in substance-free activities. Brief substance use interventions for college students have been enhanced using a behavioral economic supplement (Substance-Free Activity Session; SFAS). The SFAS behavioral economic supplement aims to increase the salience of delayed academic and career goals, increase engagement in substance-free activities, and increase the salience of both short and long-term goals in the context of existing alcohol and other substance use. Less is known how high school students spend their time, what substance-free activities they engage in and view as attractive and acceptable, and how goals impact their substance use.

This project aims to design a developmentally tailored adolescent alcohol SFAS intervention using an iterative treatment development process of daily diary phase and an intervention refinement phase. Utilizing a stage model for intervention development guidelines, the proposed project aims to adapt a novel SFAS intervention for high school students. The proposed project will use event-level daily diary methods to characterize how high school students spend their time in relation to substance use and goals, specifically examining temporal precedence of substance-free activities, time allocation, and substance use (Aim 1), and examine the satisfaction and acceptability of the SFAS for high school students with an intervention refinement phase (Aim 2). Findings from the etiologic investigation of Aim 1 will inform the design of the modified intervention that is developmentally tailored to suit an adolescent population.

This project will inform research on prevention and intervention approaches for adolescent alcohol use and serve as pilot data for a randomized clinical trial.