This study will use the CCPT II to assess attention in 12-21 year olds enrolled in a
randomized controlled trial of a brief behavioral treatment for substance abuse.
This study will describe at baseline levels of attention using a well validated instrument
(Connors Continuous Performance Test II) and explore the association between attention
levels and substance use. The primary study hypothesis is that lower initial levels of
substance use (as measured by percent days abstinent) will be associated with higher
attention levels. We envision that this data will inform a better understanding of how
attention may modify treatment response.
Research among adolescents with substance use problems presents unique challenges to
investigators. Issues with recruitment, confidentiality, and follow-up have been cited as
common limitations to research in this area. One likely contributor to decreased treatment
persistence and follow-up is the limited ability to sustain attention that many adolescents,
especially those with substance problems, may manifest. (Taper, 2002) Thus, assessing
attention before beginning substance abuse treatment has the potential not only to inform
the science of adolescent addiction medicine, but also to guide the development of therapies
to specifically address attention deficits among adolescent substance users. Adolescent
outpatients being treated for substance problems have not been systematically studied for
clinical or subclinical attention levels.
The primary aims this study are as follows:
1. To test the feasibility of administering the Connors Continuous Performance Test II
(CCPT II), a well validated measure of attention, to a sample of 12-21 year old
patients receiving treatment for substance abuse.
2. To obtain baseline descriptive statistics on the CCPT II in a previously understudied
group of young patients receiving treatment for substance abuse.
3. To estimate the magnitude of the association between substance use and levels of
attention at baseline before treatment.
4. To explore the degree to which attention may affect response to substance abuse
treatment in general and specifically motivational interviewing.
- CRAFFT score of 1 or more
- Have used cannabis, alcohol or another drug on at least two occasions during the 30
days preceding their visit
- Can read and understand English
- Require immediate hospitalization or referral to residential substance abuse
- Will not be available to complete the study assessments over the next 9 months.