Neural Correlates of Social Influence on Risk Taking and Substance Use in Adolescents

Eva H. Telzer, Christina R. Rogers, Jorien Van Hoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Adolescents often engage in elevated levels of risk taking that give rise to substance use. Family and peers constitute the primary contextual risk factors for adolescent substance use. This report reviews how families and peers influence adolescent neurocognitive development to inform their risk taking and subsequent substance use. Recent Findings: Developmental neuroscience using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has identified regions of the brain involved in social cognition, cognitive control, and reward processing that are integrally linked to social influence on adolescent risk taking. These neural mechanisms play a role in how peer and family influence (e.g., physical presence, relationship quality, rejection) translate into adolescent substance use. Summary: Peers and families can independently, and in tandem, contribute to adolescent substance use, for better or for worse. We propose that future work utilize fMRI to investigate the neural mechanisms involved in different aspects of peer and family influence and how these contexts uniquely and interactively influence adolescent substance use initiation and escalation across development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Adolescent brain development
  • Family influence
  • Peer influence
  • Risk taking
  • Substance use
  • fMRI


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