Discrimination contributes to mental and physical health disparities disproportionately disadvantaging minority
populations. Yet, the impact of discrimination on behavioral health outcomes such as substance use (SU) is
less clear, particularly in early life (e.g. late childhood and early adolescence). By middle adolescence, SU
initiation is set in motion triggering subsequent developmental trajectories. Investigating the onset of SU,
starting in late childhood, is critical for mitigating its downstream health consequences. There is even less
science focused on multilevel factors that alleviate associations between discrimination and SU. This project
addresses these gaps in developmental and health disparities science by investigating adolescents'
experiences of multiple forms of discrimination (based on ethnicity/race, country of origin, sexual orientation,
weight) and SU (self-report & hair sample metabolites) from late childhood to middle adolescence, and by
investigating sleep (parent-report & actigraphy duration & quality) and neighborhood environment (deprivation,
crime, noise, structural discrimination from geocodes) as moderators of the health impact of discrimination.
Both sleep and neighborhood environment can be targeted by evidence-based programming as levers of
change to reduce the impact of discrimination on SU. The project draws from the on-going, national,
longitudinal study of Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD), the largest national study of its kind
that follows 11,875 children (9-10 years old) through adolescence. The project examines three research aims.
First, the study investigates concurrent and longitudinal linkages between discrimination and SU, from late
childhood to early adolescence, disentangling whether discrimination is a contributing or a resulting factor of
SU initiation and continuation. Second, the study investigates the extent to which the linkages between
discrimination and SU are conditioned by young people's sleep. Finally, the study investigates the moderating
role of neighborhood environment in linking discrimination, sleep, and SU, from late childhood to middle
adolescence. For all research aims, the proposed project also explores how the associations of discrimination,
SU, sleep, and neighborhood environment change from late childhood to adolescence, by testing multiple
development-related differences (i.e., by data collection wave, developmental stage, age, grade level).
Findings will elucidate critical developmental periods when interventions are most effective in helping young
people from marginalized populations (ethnicity/race, immigration status, sexual orientation, and body shape)
navigate the negative health consequences of prejudice and exclusion. Essentially, this project will provide
critical insights for youth SU programs including who is most at risk, what to target, and when to intervene.