The Adolescent Brain and the College Drinker: Biological Basis of Propensity to Use and Misuse Alcohol

From Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement #14

About the Course:

This article reviews the literature on adolescent brain development and considers the impact of these neural alterations on the propensity to use and misuse alcohol. Neural, behavioral, and hormonal characteristics of adolescents across a variety of species were examined, along with a review of the ontogeny of ethanol responsiveness, tolerance development and stress/alcohol interactions. Course materials are found on pages 71-81 using Adobe toolbar page finder.


National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Publication Date:

March 2002


Linda Patia Spear, Ph.D.

About the Author:

Linda Spear is with the Department of Psychology and Center for Developmental Psychobiology at Binghamton University in New York.

Recommended For:

This course is recommended for health care professionals, especially addiction counselors, psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, and nurses who seek knowledge about the biological basis for college students’ propensity to use alcohol. It is appropriate for all levels of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Discuss the characteristics of adolescence in humans and other animals.

  2. Explain the prevalence of alcohol use in adolescents, responsivity to alcohol, and development of tolerance.

  3. Discuss the relationship of stress, adolescence, and alcohol consumption, and whether adolescent alcohol exposure alters ongoing processes of brain development.

Exam Questions

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