Developmental Perspectives and Risk Factors for Substance Use

  • Sharon LevyEmail author
  • Miriam A. Schizer
  • Leslie S. Green


This chapter discusses normative adolescent development, including neurobiological and psychosocial maturation that contribute to significant vulnerabilities to substance use initiation and escalation. As brain structures mature at different rates, there is an imbalance between motivation to seek reward that drives behavior and executive functioning that filters it. Adolescence also marks the transition of the primary social group from family to peers, which may motivate adolescent substance use. The impact of individual substances on the developing brain is highlighted in the context of societal changes in risk perception and availability. Risk and protective factors that determine substance use disorder progression are discussed. Practical considerations for addressing substance use as part of routine care for children and adolescents are included.


Brain development Social development Neurobiology Risk/protective factors Screening Health messages 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Levy
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Miriam A. Schizer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Leslie S. Green
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program, Division of Developmental MedicineBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social WorkBoston Children’s HospitalBostonUSA

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