Neural cognitive control moderates the longitudinal link between hedonia and substance use across adolescence
Hedonic dysregulation is evident in addiction and substance use disorders, but it is not clearly understood how hedonic processes may interact with brain development related to cognitive control to influence risky decision making and substance use during adolescence. The present study used prospective longitudinal data to clarify the role of cognitive control in the link between hedonic experiences and the development of substance use during adolescence. Participants included 167 adolescents (53% male) assessed at four time points, annually. Adolescents participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) session where blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) response was monitored during the Multi-Source- Interference Task to assess cognitive control. Substance use and hedonia were assessed using self-report. A two-group growth curve model of substance use with hedonia as a time-varying covariate indicated that higher levels of hedonia predicted higher substance use, but only in adolescents with higher activation in the frontoparietal regions and in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex during cognitive control. Results elucidate the moderating effects of neural cognitive control on associations between hedonia and adolescent substance use, suggesting that lower cognitive control functioning in the brain may exacerbate risk for substance use promoted by hedonia.