First Advisor

Bill Griesar

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors




Executive functions (Neuropsychology), Teenagers -- Tobacco use -- Psychological aspects, Parent and teenager, Parent and child




Substance use such as tobacco is common during the adolescent stage of development. Cigarette use has been associated with a wide range of health complications and is listed as one of the most preventable causes of disease in the United States with 480,000 smoking-related deaths per year. Further research on the underlying factors that predict cigarette use could support the development of new evidence-based preventative treatment interventions.

The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between executive dysfunction measured by the Behavioral Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF-2), distant parental relationships including parental support, monitoring, decision influence, and communication; and cigarette use two years later. The subjects (n = 503; ages 12 through 18) were all participants in the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescents (NCANDA) study.

To explore these interactions, specific paths were tested in a multivariate longitudinal mediation analysis to measure both latent (executive functions and parental support) and observed (cigarette use in the past 365 days) variables. A confirmatory factor analysis was used to construct the latent variables and bivariate and multivariate models were used to assess these interactions further.

The results indicated that distant parental relationships and executive dysfunction predicted cigarette use in adolescent populations two years later. Males were twice as likely to smoke cigarettes compared to females in the sample. Adolescents who express characteristics of executive dysfunction, especially those who are older and have distant parental relationships, should be a targeted population in preventative treatment interventions.


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