This research study is a 5 year longitudinal study. It is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These are government agencies that fund the leading, new research in health.

The transition into adolescence is a difficult one to go through. Some children handle it quite well, but others end up getting involved in maladaptive behaviors, like drinking alcohol, smoking, binge eating, and purging their food (causing themselves to throw up so they donít gain weight). For 20 years, our research lab has been working on identifying risk factors that help us tell, ahead of time, which kids are most likely to get involved in these behaviors. And as we identify the right risk factors, we can develop ways to intervene with those kids to reduce their risk.

Our work has developed to the point where we believe we can identify risk factors before kids enter middle school. So we are studying 5th grade childrenís personalities and what they have learned. We will then assess the childrenís behavior every six months all the way through middle school. Doing this will enable us to test whether our ideas are right: we hope to be able to predict, from what we learned about the kids in 5th grade, which kids are most likely to have these problems in middle school. At the same time, we are working on an effective intervention for high risk kids. We will implement that intervention, if our risk theory turns out to be right.

Contact
Dr. Gregory T. Smith • Email: gsmith@uky.edu • Phone: (859)-257-6454
Dr. Julia Wang •Email: cjwang00@uky.edu • Phone: (859)-257-0101

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Site last updated 6/1/2009.