PhD Scientific Days 2021

Budapest, 7-8 July 2021

MH_I_P: Mental Health Sciences I. Posters

Examining the Relations between Fight-Flight-Freeze System Sensitivity, Emotion Dysregulation, and Substance Use in Adolescents

Alexandra Rádosi1,2, Tünde É. Welker1, Evelyn Cs. Posta,1, György Hámori1, Evelin A. Zubovics1, Bea Pászthy3, János M. Réthelyi4, István Ulbert5,6, & Nóra Bunford1
1 Developmental and Translational Neuroscience Research Group, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Budapest
2 Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences, Budapest
3 Semmelweis University, 1st Department of Paediatrics, Budapest
4 Semmelweis University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Budapest
5 Integrative Neuroscience Research Group, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Budapest
6 Faculty of Information Technology and Bionics, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest

Text of the abstract

Adolescent substance use is associated with a host of negative behavioral and neural consequences, including increased risk for adulthood substance use. Evidence indicates individual differences in reinforcement sensitivity – including behavioral activation (BAS) and inhibition (BIS) system sensitivity – are linked to substance use and that this association is particularly relevant in adolescence, a developmental phase characterized by attenuated punishment and heightened reward sensitivity, and that marks the onset of substance use experimentation. Less is known, however, about the relation between fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS) sensitivity and substance use and there is little to no empirical research on such relation in adolescents. Yet, there is reason to believe that, via an association with emotion dysregulation, individual differences in FFFS sensitivity may predict adolescent substance use. Examining the relations between FFFS sensitivity, emotion dysregulation and substance use would fill an important gap regarding a comprehensive understanding of the link between reinforcement sensitivity and adolescent substance use.
Aims were to examine whether self-reported (1) reinforcement sensitivity, indexed by fight-flight-freeze system (FFFS) sensitivity is associated with substance use indexed by alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use (2) and associations are mediated by emotion dysregulation. Participants were 207 adolescents (Mage=15.71 years SD=1.10, 53.1% boys).
Preliminary results evince bivariate associations across variables, with small but significant positive correlations between FFFS sensitivity and different aspects of emotion dysregulation (rs ranging from .202-.238; ps ranging from .003-.012), and between different aspects of emotion dysregulation and alcohol and tobacco use (rs ranging from .160-.240; ps ranging from 0.003-.048). A small but significant negative correlation was found between FFFS sensitivity and alcohol use (r=-.166, p=.041).
With data analyses, including mediational analyses ongoing, detailed findings will be presented and clinical (e.g., for personalized prevention) and conceptual implications will be discussed at the conference.
This work was funded by an MTA Lendület (“Momentum”) Grant awarded to Nóra Bunford (#LP2018-3/2018).

University and Doctoral School

Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences