Alcohol Use Disorder and Cannabis Use Disorder Symptomatology in Adolescents and Aggression: Associations With Recruitment of Neural Regions Implicated in Retaliation

R. James R. Blair, Sahil Bajaj, Noah Sherer, Johannah Bashford-Largo, Ru Zhang, Joseph Aloi, Chris Hammond, Jennie Lukoff, Amanda Schwartz, Jaimie Elowsky, Patrick Tyler, Francesca M. Filbey, Matthew Dobbertin, Karina S. Blair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Alcohol and cannabis are commonly used by adolescents in the United States. Both alcohol use disorder (AUD) and cannabis use disorder (CUD) have been associated with an increased risk of aggression. One form of aggression seen during retaliation is reactive aggression to social provocation. This study investigated the association between AUD and CUD symptom severity and recruitment of neural regions implicated in retaliation. Methods: In this study, 102 youths aged 13–18 years (67 male; 84 in residential care) completed self-report measures of aggression-related constructs and participated in a retaliation task during functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the association between relative severity of AUD/CUD and atypical recruitment of regions implicated in retaliation. Results: AUD Identification Test scores were positively associated with irritability and reactive aggression scores. CUD Identification Test scores were positively associated with callous-unemotional traits and both proactive and reactive aggression scores. In functional magnetic resonance imaging analyses, only AUD Identification Test (not CUD Identification Test) scores were associated with an exaggerated recruitment of regions implicated in retaliation (dorsomedial frontal, anterior insula cortices, caudate, and, to a lesser extent, periaqueductal gray). Conclusions: These data suggest that relative severity of AUD is associated with a disinhibited, exaggerated retaliation response that relates to an increased risk for reactive aggression. Similar findings were not related to severity of CUD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-544
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Volume6
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Aggression
  • Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Cannabis Use Disorder
  • Retaliation
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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