Studying Adolescent Regulation (StAR) Project

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

This study is designed to investigate the effects of early adverse experiences and the cognitive processes underlying behavioral regulation on early-onset alcohol use in maltreated adolescents.

Project Overview

The rates of alcohol use and abuse are elevated among maltreated adolescents involved with the child welfare system. Thus, the StAR Project is designed to investigate the impact of specific early adverse experiences and the cognitive processes underlying behavioral regulation (i.e., risk taking and inhibitory control) on alcohol use in maltreated adolescents and nonmaltreated adolescents. For this project, 125 maltreated adolescents and 125 nonmaltreated adolescents will be recruited and data will be collected from the adolescents and their parents once a year between early (12–13 years) to middle (15–16 years) adolescence. The results of this project may aid in the identification of the maltreated adolescents most likely to engage in early-onset alcohol use and the development of more effective preventive intervention services to reduce early-onset alcohol use in maltreated adolescents.

Year Project Began: 2013
Funder: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Principal Investigator

Jacqueline Bruce, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Oregon Social Learning Center

Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Dr. Bruce received her Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota and has been a Research Scientist at the Oregon Social Learning Center since 2009. Her program of research focuses on the impact of early adverse experiences (e.g., child maltreatment and multiple caregiver disruptions) on the development of young children. She is particularly interested in the development of behavioral regulation (the ability to voluntarily regulate one’s behavior to meet the demands of the situation) and the underlying neural systems. For example, she has collected event-related potential (ERP) and event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data with maltreated foster children and nonmaltreated children during different inhibitory control tasks. Currently, Dr Bruce is the principal investigator on a study designed to investigate the effects of early adverse experiences and the cognitive processes underlying behavioral regulation on alcohol use in maltreated adolescents and a study designed to examine the behavioral and electrophysiological performance of children and adolescents on a decision-making task. She is also a co-investigator on a randomized efficacy trial of a school readiness intervention program with foster children and a multisite Center investigating the behavioral and neurobiological impacts of early adverse experiences in humans and nonhuman primates.