Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

Previous Page


B. F. Skinner Lecture Series Paper Session #157A
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
A Paradigm Shift in This Moment of Invisible Symptoms: What the Adolescent Brain Tells Us About How to Conceptualize Addiction and its Treatment
Sunday, May 28, 2023
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 1
Area: SCI; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Liz Kyonka (California State University - East Bay)
CE Instructor: Liz Kyonka, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: SARAH FELDSTEIN EWING (University of Rhode Island)

There has been a global surge in adolescents’ use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)/vaping, cannabis (vaped, edible), and use of prescription opioids (POs) not-asprescribed. The nature of these substances often renders them “difficult-to-detect” due to limited physical and behavioral signs, along with subtle, but often, hazardous longer-term effects. Here, Dr. Feldstein Ewing will address the nature of substance use presentation in the adolescent age group, including challenges in detection and related complications that impact screening and prevention. Further, in terms of intervention, many of the existing addiction treatments that we use with adolescents were originally designed for adults; however, the adolescent brain is increasingly being recognized as substantively different than the adult brain. And, likely for related reasons, adolescents engage with substances in different ways than adults. Dr. Feldstein Ewing will begin by reviewing empirical data on “difficult-to-detect” effects, including acute effects at neural levels and longer-term neurocognitive and developmental changes that precede outward physical symptoms. Dr. Feldstein Ewing will also present translational approaches, integrating brain (developmental human neuroscience; fMRI) and behavior (clinical intervention programs) to begin to inform timely updates in how we approach defining addiction in this age group, along with how we update our approaches to behavioral treatment in this age group.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Clinicians, scientists, mental health faculty

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) Identify the nature of substance use and related risk behaviors during the teen years; (2) Identify existing prevention and intervention approaches for adolescent health risk behaviors; (3) Describe translational approaches to inform improvements in adolescent prevention and intervention approaches
SARAH FELDSTEIN EWING (University of Rhode Island)
Dr. Feldstein Ewing is the Prochaska Endowed Professor of Psychology, Director of the Adolescent Neuroscience Center for Health Resilience (ANCHoR) at URI, and Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (DPHB) and Advance CTR at Brown University. She currently serves as Associate Editor at Transla'onal Psychiatry (Nature). With over 147 peer-reviewed publicaQons and 4 books, she has published widely regarding the developmental fit, neurocogniQve mechanisms, gender differences, and cross-cultural adaptaQon of intervenQon approaches for this developmental stage. She has also developed a highly innovaQve NIH-funded line of translaQonal research to evaluate the connecQon between basic brain mechanisms (e.g., brain structure, funcQon, connecQvity) and youth health risk behavior (e.g., clinical symptoms, prevenQon and intervenQon outcomes). She has conducted this work primarily with underserved and underrepresented youth [e.g., low SES youth, young people of color (POC), young females, sexual and gender minority (SGM) youth), and in the context of youth cannabis use, alcohol use, prescripQon opioids (POs used not-as-prescribed], HIV/STI risk, and high body mass (BMI). Dr. Feldstein Ewing has served as a key member of the NaQonal Academy of Sciences Workgroup for the Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids (2017), and naQonal and internaQonal panels addressing youth brain:behavior translaQonal research and its implicaQons for intervenQon approaches for this age group (e.g., Novavi Symposium on AddicQon Research and Treatment, Denmark: 2022; NIH Science of Behavior Change Capstone Conference, 2021; MacArthur FoundaQon Law and the Brain, 2016).



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh