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Jon Amastae, Ph.D.Jon Amastae and Lawrence Cohn, Principal Investigaors

The goal of the project is to explore the possibility of using spontaneous language samples to predict vulnerability and resistance to drug abuse in young adults who are ambivalent about their current level of drug use. The specific aims are:

Aim 1. To develop a brief structured interview, based on Motivational Interviewing (MI), for obtaining language samples regarding the drug use intentions of young adults who are ambivalent about their level ofdrug use (i.e., non-use, experimental use, or frequent use).

Aim 2. To determine if the Linguistic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) text analysis protocol for analyzing language (developed by James Pennebaker) can be used to predict changes in drug use during a six month period following brief MI-type interviews with young adults who are ambivalent about their level of drug use.

Aim 3. To determine if Amrhein’s (Amrhein, Miller, Yahne, Palmer, & Fulcher, 2003) coding system for studying the ‘commitment language’ of heavy drug users can be used to study the commitment language of experimental drug users who are ambivalent about their level of drug use.

Aim 4. To pilot test the structured interview and coding system in a sample of 150 young adults who are ambivalent about their level of drug use; the aim is to determine if an analysis of commitment language obtained from MI-type interviews can predict drug use resistance, initiation, and escalation during the six months following the interview.