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 in 2005 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 transitions) on the development of young children. She is particularly interested in the development of behavioral regulation (or the ability to voluntarily regulate one’s behavior to meet the demands of the situation) and the underlying neural systems. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on a number of longitudinal studies involving the collection of behavioral and neurobiological measures, including event-related potential (ERP), event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), salivary cortisol, and autonomic cardiac data, with at-risk developmental populations, such maltreated toddlers and preschoolers in foster care, kindergarteners with developmental disabilities, and maltreated adolescents living with their biological parents. 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 nonmaltreated adolescents.