An update on the assessment of culture and environment in the ABCD Study®: Emerging literature and protocol updates over three measurement waves

Dev Cogn Neurosci. 2021 Dec;52:101021. doi: 10.1016/j.dcn.2021.101021. Epub 2021 Oct 16.


Advances in our understanding of risk and resilience factors in adolescent brain health and development increasingly demand a broad set of assessment tools that consider a youth's peer, family, school, neighborhood, and cultural contexts in addition to neurobiological, genetic, and biomedical information. The Culture and Environment (CE) Workgroup (WG) of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study curates these important components of the protocol throughout ten years of planned data collection. In this report, the CE WG presents an update on the evolution of the ABCD Study® CE protocol since study inception (Zucker et al., 2018), as well as emerging findings that include CE measures. Background and measurement characteristics of instruments present in the study since baseline have already been described in our 2018 report, and therefore are only briefly described here. New measures introduced since baseline are described in more detail. Descriptive statistics on all measures are presented based on a total sample of 11,000+ youth and their caregivers assessed at baseline and the following two years. Psychometric properties of the measures, including longitudinal aspects of the data, are reported, along with considerations for future measurement waves. The CE WG ABCD® components are an essential part of the overall protocol that permits characterization of the unique cultural and social environment within which each developing brain is transactionally embedded.

Keywords: Development; acculturation; cultural identity; family effects; social interactions; substance use.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Schools*
  • Social Environment*