A test of a behavioral analog of the triadic model of motivated behavior as applied to substance use in adolescence
Lopez-Vergara, Hector I.
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Positive and negative reinforcement have long been considered important mechanisms in addiction. According to reactive models of incentive salience (sensitivity to reward and punishment) strong sensitivity to reward functions as a risk factor to engage in substance use for positive reinforcement, whereas strong sensitivity to punishment functions as a risk factor to engage in substance use for negative reinforcement. However, emerging evidence from developmental neuroscience models of motivated behavior (e.g., the Triadic Model) suggest that the effects of incentive salience on behavior depend on the individual's capacity to regulate/control reactive motivational drives. The current dissertation aims to test a behavioral analog of the Triadic Model as applied to substance use in a community sample ( n = 387) of early adolescents (mean age at wave-1= 12.10, SD = .59) who have been prospectively followed for 5 waves of yearly assessments. Adolescents reported on their own substance use, and laboratory behavioral tasks were utilized to measure incentive salience (the Point Scoring Reaction Time Task for Children-Revised) and regulation/control (the Stop Signal Task). Synergistic effects were tested with two different approaches: (1) Latent variable interactions using structural equation modeling, and (2) using latent profile analysis (LPA) to classify classes of adolescents with different profiles of incentive salience and regulation/control. There was no support for synergistic associations. Sensitivity to reward was found to prospectively predict changes in alcohol use. Although the current study does not support the triadic model's hypothesized synergistic effects, results show preliminary support for views of motivated behavior that emphasize different reactive and regulatory/controlled systems.