Assessment of culture and environment in the Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development Study: Rationale, description of measures, and early data

Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2018 Aug:32:107-120. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 Mar 17.


Neurodevelopmental maturation takes place in a social environment in addition to a neurobiological one. Characterization of social environmental factors that influence this process is therefore an essential component in developing an accurate model of adolescent brain and neurocognitive development, as well as susceptibility to change with the use of marijuana and other drugs. The creation of the Culture and Environment (CE) measurement component of the ABCD protocol was guided by this understanding. Three areas were identified by the CE Work Group as central to this process: influences relating to CE Group membership, influences created by the proximal social environment, influences stemming from social interactions. Eleven measures assess these influences, and by time of publication, will have been administered to well over 7,000 9-10 year-old children and one of their parents. Our report presents baseline data on psychometric characteristics (mean, standard deviation, range, skewness, coefficient alpha) of all measures within the battery. Effectiveness of the battery in differentiating 9-10 year olds who were classified as at higher and lower risk for marijuana use in adolescence was also evaluated. Psychometric characteristics on all measures were good to excellent; higher vs. lower risk contrasts were significant in areas where risk differentiation would be anticipated.

Keywords: Acculturation; Cultural identity; Family effects; Social interaction; Substance use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Child
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Social Environment