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Prenatal Drug Exposure & Adolescent Drug Use: The Role of HPA Axis Regulation


Through the postdoctoral training grant F32 DA036274-01 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we will investigate the impact of stress regulation on adolescent drug use among adolescents who were prenatally exposed to drugs and a comparison sample of adolescents not prenatally exposed. The ability to regulate stress influences several aspects of child development (e.g., brain, health, psychological well-being). Little is known about the impact of prenatal drug exposure on the regulation of stress and the development of drug use in adolescence. this study integrates biological, developmental, psychological, and social aspects of child development to investigate how prenatal drug exposure is related to adolescent drug use directly and indirectly through stress regulation. This research has the potential to inform public health policy because prenatal drug exposure and stress regulation have been associated with multiple negative health outcomes individually, and assessing them in one model has the potential to inform risk prevention and promotion research.

Principal Investigator

Stacy Howes, PhD
University of Maryland, School of Medicine
Arizona State University, Institute for Interdisciplinary Salivary Bioscience Research 


Maureen Black, PhD
University of Maryland, School of Medicine

Douglas Granger, PhD
Arizona State University, Department of Psychology

Donna Harrington, PhD
University of Maryland, School of Social Work


Robey, A., Buckingham-Howes, S., Salmeron, B. J., Black, M. M. & Riggins, T. (in press). Relations between prospective memory, cognitive abilities, and brain structure: Findings from a longitudinal study examining the effects of prenatal drug exposure during adolescence.Journal of Experimental Child Psychology