Early Risk for Problem Behavior and Substance Use: Targeted Interventions for the Promotion of Inhibitory Control

  • Nathaniel R. Riggs
  • Mark T. Greenberg
  • Brittany Rhoades


Central to many neurocognitive models of childhood problem behavior is inhibitory control, which Kochanska and colleagues refer to as effortful impulse control (Kochanska et al., Child Development 67:490–507, 1996). Inhibitory control is defined here to include active processes of inhibition, effortful or willful control of emotions, thoughts, and actions, as well as self-regulation of both approach and avoidance (Rothbart, Temperament in childhood 59–73, 1989). Inhibitory control has also been considered a central component of executive cognitive function (ECF), which includes a variety of neurocognitive skills necessary for problem-solving and goal directed behaviors. This chapter has three primary objectives. First, we discuss research on brain development and neurocognition (ECF) relevant to childhood and adolescent problem behaviors including substance use. We expand our focus from substance use to early childhood behavior problems in general (e.g., conduct problems, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)) due to common neurological correlates, as well as putative relationships between childhood conduct problems and adolescent substance misuse (Clark et al., Drug and Alcohol Dependence 77:13–21, 2005). Next, we review the growing number of public health interventions that measure and/or target ECF, while highlighting those that specifically target inhibitory control. Finally, we discuss the implications and research directions for the future development and implementation of substance misuse interventions.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Emotion Regulation Inhibitory Control Public Health Intervention Substance Misuse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathaniel R. Riggs
    • 1
  • Mark T. Greenberg
  • Brittany Rhoades
  1. 1.Institute for Prevention Research, Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaAlhambraUSA

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