Self-regulation plays an important role in understanding adolescent substance use. From a trait perspective, adolescent substance use is related to high levels of reward seeking, low levels of harm avoidance, and deficits in inhibitory control. Moreover, these characteristics influence adolescents’ motivations to use substances as a means to achieve social and personal goals. In addition to between-person differences in self-regulatory traits, dual process models posit that an occurrence of substance use results from interplay between conscious controlled processes and automatic substance use associations. Contextual factors are also important because they can influence both self-regulatory traits and the strength of controlled and automatic processes. Implications for prevention and treatment are discussed, along with future research directions.
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