The Interaction Between Punishment Sensitivity and Effortful Control for Emerging Adults' Substance Use Behaviors
Background: Within the dual systems perspective, high reward sensitivity and low punishment sensitivity in conjunction with deficits in cognitive control may contribute to high levels of risk taking, such as substance use. Objective: The current study examined whether the individual components of effortful control (inhibitory control, attentional control, and activation control) serve as regulators and moderate the association between reward or punishment sensitivity and substance use behaviors. Method: A total of 1,808 emerging adults from a university setting (Mean age = 19.48; 72% female) completed self-report measures of reward and punishment sensitivity, effortful control, and substance use. Results: Findings indicated significant two-way interactions for punishment sensitivity and inhibitory control for alcohol and marijuana use. The form of these interactions revealed a significant negative association between punishment sensitivity and alcohol and marijuana use at low levels of inhibitory control. No significant interactions emerged for reward sensitivity or other components of effortful control. Conclusions: The current findings provide preliminary evidence suggesting the dual systems theorized to influence risk taking behavior interact to make joint contributions to health risk behaviors such as substance use in emerging adults.
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