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Adolescents With Attention Problems Likely To face Substance-Abuse Issues Later

Jes Burns

Impulsive adolescents who lack focus, and show signs of weak memory skills are more likely to have substance abuse problems, according research from the University of Oregon.

The findings are drawn from a study of more than 350 teens ages 11 to 13. The data shows early drug experimentation will probably lead to consistent use among youth who are habitually distracted. Atika Khurana is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology and Human Services at the U of O.  

Khurana: "We know that there are these early patterns, or early indicators, of risk. And we can intervene by providing working memory based interventions that can prevent this high risk group of adolescents from going on to this negative spiral of developing drug addiction."

Khurana says home environments strong in structured routines and cognitive-stimulation could strengthen memory skills. The research is being printed in the quarterly journal, "Development and Psychopathology."