April 30, 2012
Psychology Professor Elise Murowchick examined the onset of drug and alcohol use among middle school students. For the study “Emotional Health Predictors of Substance Use Initiation During Middle School,” she joined four researchers from the University of Washington: Carolyn A. McCarty, Isaac Rhew, Elizabeth McCauley, and Ann Vander Stoep. McCarty and McCauley also hold appointments at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “We found that as levels of stress increased, the use of illicit substances increased; on the other hand, higher levels of perceived teacher support resulted in lower risk of early alcohol use,” Murowchick said. The researchers used data from a longitudinal study of 521 youth from Seattle public schools. They focused on anxiety, depression, stress, social support, and onset of substance use. The results were reported in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors (October 2011) “I used survival analysis, a tool often used in medicine, to predict when someone starts an activity or behavior,” Murowchick said. “If we can understand why and when an adolescent starts using drugs or alcohol, we can better implement prevention activities.” Murowchick received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and joined the College of Arts in 2006. Her research and teaching focus on biopsychosocial approaches to adolescent development, family relationships, child and adolescent risk behaviors, and experimental design and research methods.
The College of Arts and Sciences, the largest college in Seattle University, offers 33 undergraduate degrees and 7 advanced degrees, including an M.A. in Psychology.
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