The impact of alcohol consumption on adolescent neuropsychological development
A graduate in psychology and criminology Hannah has several years’ experience working across a range of clinical and research settings including mental health, autistic spectrum disorders and brain injury.
PhD project aims
Hannah is a second year PhD student examining the impact of alcohol consumption on adolescent neuropsychological development under the supervision of Professor Colin Drummond, Professor Simon Coulton and Professor Michael Lynskey. The research programme will draw from two established research programmes: SIPS Junior, a screening and prevalence survey of alcohol consumption and alcohol disorder in adolescents attending Emergency Departments (http://www.sipsjunior.net/) and IMAGEN, a European Commission funded research programme on risk taking behaviours in adolescents (http://www.imagen-europe.com/). Data from 7000 adolescents who use alcohol and controls will be reviewed, integrating multiple metrics of alcohol use into a number of latent classes. This will lead to the full characterisation and an empirically derived multi-dimensional measure of adolescent drinking behaviours which will be used to examine the impact of alcohol on neuropsychological functioning in this cohort both cross-sectionally and longitudinally at a developmentally crucial time in adolescence
Background literature/previous work
Prior to undertaking her current studies at Kings College London, Hannah worked as an Assistant Psychologist for South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust within the Drug and Alcohol Service. During this role, a 6 month secondment within the Addictions Department at Kings College London provided an opportunity to pursue a PhD within her field of interest with the support of the Society for the Study of Addictions studentship award.
Work plan and timeline
Over the next year the focus of the project will move on to Study II and III, which aim to apply the Latent Classes established within Study I to the European Commission funded IMAGEN research project. Plans include:
Characterise IMAGEN cohort using latent classes established in study I reflecting increasing severity of alcohol use in this cohort.
Further analysis will aim to develop and refine full characterisation of drinking patterns reflecting increasing severity of alcohol use in adolescents from the IMAGEN study and establish a model of best fit for further analysis.
Multivariate analysis will explore how these defined cluster groups relate to other measures of harm and identify differences in neurocognitive functioning between these groups reflecting increasing levels of alcohol use.
Longitudinal Transitional Analysis will be used to examine the transitions of latent class memberships of alcohol behaviours over a 5 year period (14-19 years old) in n=2000 adolescents.
Multi variate analysis will explore how defined latent classes, probability of group membership and the transitions between these classes over a 5 year period relate to other measures of harm and identify differences in neuropsychological functioning.
Establish empirically derived dimensional measure of drinking patterns in adolescents
Relevance of your work for the field
Hannah’s research proposes to elucidate the nature, prevalence and mechanisms of alcohol related harm on neuropsychological development in adolescents and ultimately inform alcohol consumption guidelines and interventions for adolescents to prevent or reduce alcohol involvement in this population.