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NIJ Webinar – Delinquency, Victimization, and the Developing Brain: Results from the ABCD-Social Development Study

December 2, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development – Social Development Study (ABCD-SD) is a longitudinal study on the relationship between the developing brain and delinquency and victimization. Supplementing ABCD brain and cognitive development measures, ABCD-SD protocol measures a wide array of delinquency- and victimization-related risks, protective factors and outcomes. These presentations will describe early adolescent findings from ABCD-SD on delinquency and victimization.

Moderator: Barbara Tatem Kelley, M.A., M.Ed., Social Science Research Analyst, National Institute of Justice

Presentation 1: Early Adolescent Delinquency and Victimization from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study

ABCD is a longitudinal study examining brain and cognitive development in relation to behavioral and health outcomes in 11,878 participants starting at ages 9-10 years old across 21 U.S. sites. The ABCD protocol includes neuroimaging, neuropsychological, personality, and psychiatric assessments, and measurement of various environmental risk factors and protective factors. We will describe the design and assessment aspects of ABCD most pertinent to the study of delinquency and victimization risks and outcomes, focusing on the age 9-10 year old results. The presentation will also provide a guide for scholars interested in accessing these data for further analyses.

Presenter: Dr. Duncan B. Clark is Principal Investigator, (PI) of ABCD-SD and ABCD Pittsburgh Site PI. Applying his background in clinical psychology and psychiatry, Dr. Clark has contributed to research on adolescent development and related behavioral problems for three decades. Dr. Clark’s influential contributions have integrated developmental and clinical psychology, clinical medicine, and neurosciences to better understand the etiology, prevention, course, treatment, and consequences of adolescent substance use disorders, disruptive behaviors, and victimization.

Presentation 2: The Social Development Study: Initial Findings

The ABCD-Social Development Study (ABCD-SD) includes detailed data from approximately 2,500 children, on delinquency and victimization. The ABCD-SD study will link data to the ABCD study, to benefit from biannual brain scans, and numerous behavioral assessments. The ABCD-SD study is the first prospective longitudinal study to offer future analyses on brain maturation and behavioral problems. This presentation includes the first descriptive results from the ABCD-SD and offers possibilities for external researchers to make use of the data.

Presenter: Dr. Lia Ahonen is Co-PI of the ABCD Social Development Study, and an expert in cross disciplinary research on the development, persistence, and desistance of juvenile delinquency and crime. Her special interests include violent behavior and mental illness, predictors of violence and gun violence, the development of violent crime over time, the treatment of serious behavioral problems, and policy issues pertaining to crime and justice in different countries. Her areas of expertise also include organizational development and leadership in institutions providing treatment and services to primarily delinquent youth. Dr Ahonen has a particular interest in bridging the gap between neurobiological science and behavioral science, and more specifically, criminology.

Presentation 3: A Neurodevelopmental Approach to Understanding the Emergence and Persistence of Delinquency Behaviors

Adolescence is marked by increases in risk-taking and sensation seeking behaviors that are adaptive for the transition to adulthood, but can also lead to adverse consequences and can set a course of persistent delinquency and substance use. Little is known about delinquency and brain development, yet understanding the emergence of these behaviors within this context is critical to informing effective preventative and intervention strategies for juvenile offenders. To this end, the recent large-scale ABCD Social Development study (ABCD-SD) combines longitudinal assessments of delinquency, victimization, and substance use with neuroimaging in approximately 2,500 children (age 9-10). We will discuss exciting new analyses characterizing unique patterns of brain function in adolescents exhibiting delinquency behaviors, and will discuss how heightened brain plasticity in adolescence can be leveraged as a window of opportunity for the development and implementation of preventative and intervention strategies.

Presenter: Dr. Ashley Parr is a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development (LNCD) at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research characterizes how developmental changes in reward and cognitive systems support the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Dr. Parr’s research combines longitudinal multimodal neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET), and assessments of tissue iron) with detailed neurobehavioral analyses to understand the role of the dopamine-rich frontostriatal system in adolescent cognitive development. Her findings have implications for the emergence of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as substance use, mood disorders, psychopathy, and schizophrenia, which emerge during the adolescent period and have been associated with impairments in frontostriatal systems. Dr. Parr has a longstanding interest in the intersection between neuroscience and criminal justice, particularly with regard to translating findings from normative development to high-risk populations, such as substance use disorders, delinquency, and psychopathology.




December 2, 2020
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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