Sara Jo Nixon

Sara Jo Nixon
University of Florida | UF · Department of Psychiatry

Ph.D.

About

205
Publications
21,455
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7,419
Citations
Additional affiliations
July 2006 - December 2015
University of Florida
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (205)
Article
Full-text available
Temporal stability of individual differences is an important prerequisite for accurate tracking of prospective relationships between neurocognition and real-world behavioral outcomes such as substance abuse and psychopathology. Here we report age-related changes and longitudinal test-retest stability (TRS) for the Neurocognition battery of the Adol...
Article
Background Cognitive training interventions appear capable of improving alcohol-associated neurobehavioral deficits in recently detoxified individuals. However, efficacy remains incompletely characterized in alcohol use disorder (AUD) and available data address only non-affective cognitive outcomes; enhancement of social cognition remains uninvesti...
Article
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The human toll of disasters extends beyond death, injury and loss. Post-traumatic stress (PTS) can be common among directly exposed individuals, and children are particularly vulnerable. Even children far removed from harm’s way report PTS, and media-based exposure may partially account for this phenomenon. In this study, we examine this issue usin...
Article
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Objective: Difficulties identifying emotional facial expressions are commonly observed in alcohol use disorder (AUD). Critically, this work utilizes single-race stimulus sets, although study samples are not similarly constrained. This is particularly concerning given evidence among community samples showing the impact of racial incongruity, giving...
Article
Background The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development ™ Study (ABCD StudyⓇ) is an open-science, multi-site, prospective, longitudinal study following over 11,800 9- and 10-year-old youth into early adulthood. The ABCD Study aims to prospectively examine the impact of substance use (SU) on neurocognitive and health outcomes. Although SU initiation t...
Article
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Cortisol profiles are known to vary across phases of alcohol use disorder (AUD; e.g. chronic use, withdrawal and early/sustained recovery). These patterns have largely been established through between-subjects contrasts. Using a segmental hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) approach, retrospective longitudinal analyses are feasible. Here, we examine...
Article
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Alcohol use disorder (AUD) commonly is associated with compromise in neurobiological and/or neurobehavioral processes. The severity of this compromise varies across individuals and outcomes, as does the degree to which recovery of function is achieved. This narrative review first summarizes neurobehavioral, neurophysiological, structural, and neuro...
Article
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Deficits in emotion processing among individuals with AUD are well accepted, however the potential impact of polysubstance use in this population remains uninvestigated. The current work begins to fill this gap by analyzing affective perception and processing in community controls (CCs) and two AUD subgroups differentiated by presence (Alc-Drug) or...
Article
Background Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) often display compromise in emotional processing and non-affective neurocognitive functions. However, relatively little empirical work explores their intersection. In this study, we examined working memory performance when attending to and ignoring facial stimuli among adults with and without A...
Preprint
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As natural disasters increase in frequency and severity (1,2), mounting evidence reveals that their human toll extends beyond death, injury, and loss. Posttraumatic stress (PTS) can be common among exposed individuals, and children are particularly vulnerable (3,4). Curiously, PTS can even be found among youth far removed from harm's way, and media...
Article
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Background Acute alcohol intoxication has wide‐ranging neurobehavioral effects on psychomotor, attentional, inhibitory, and memory‐related cognitive processes. These effects are mirrored in disruption of neural metabolism, functional activation, and functional network coherence. Metrics of intraregional neural dynamics such as regional signal varia...
Article
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Objective: Despite increased attention to risks and benefits associated with moderate drinking lifestyles among aging adults, relatively few empirical studies focus on acute alcohol effects in older drinkers. Using electroencephalographic indices of early attention modulation (P1 and N1) and later stimulus processing (P3), we investigated whether...
Article
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The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAr) system is critically involved in the pathogenesis and neurobehavioral sequelae of alcohol use disorder (AUD), and constitutes a potential pharmacotherapeutic target. Memantine (Namenda) is an FDA-approved NMDAr antagonist with suggested utility in AUD, however its safety and tolerability during long-term ad...
Article
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Background: Individuals with alcohol use disorder (AUD) display deficits across a range of cognitive processes. Decrements in social cognition may be particularly important for interpersonal functioning and post-treatment adaptation. Although social cognitive deficits are associated with chronic use of numerous substances, the role of polysubstanc...
Article
Background: Prescription opioid non-medical use (NMU) and its associated consequences have been of concern in the US in recent years. Objective: We examined peer influence and parental guidance, in addition to peer and parental sources of alcohol, on patterns of prescription opioid use, including NMU, among males and females separately. We hypothes...
Article
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Objective: Cognitive training is an effective means of improving performance in a range of populations. Whether it may serve to facilitate cognitive recovery and longer-term outcomes in persons with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) is unclear. Here, we review historical and current literature and offer perspectives for model development and potential...
Article
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Background: A growing literature suggests deficient emotional facial expression (EFE) processing among recently abstinent individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs). Further investigation is needed to clarify valence-related discrepancies and elucidate neural and psychosocial correlates. We examined neurobehavioral indices of EFE processing and...
Article
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The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is an ongoing, nationwide study of the effects of environmental influences on behavioral and brain development in adolescents. The main objective of the study is to recruit and assess over eleven thousand 9-10-year-olds and follow them over the course of 10 years to characterize normative brai...
Article
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Background: Individuals in treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) display deficits across a broad range of cognitive processes. Disruptions in affective processing are understudied, but may be particularly important for interpersonal functioning and post-treatment adaptation. In particular, the role of sex in AUD-associated emotion processing de...
Article
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Objective: Despite the substantial number of older adult drinkers, few studies have examined acute alcohol effects in aging samples. We have explored these interactions across a variety of neurobehavioral domains and modalities and have consistently observed age-contingent vulnerabilities to alcohol-associated decrements in neurobehavioral functio...
Chapter
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Epidemiological estimates indicate not only an increase in the proportion of older adults, but also an increase in those who continue moderate alcohol consumption. Substantial literatures have attempted to characterize health benefits/risks of moderate drinking lifestyles. Not uncommonly, reports address outcomes in a single outcome, such as cardio...
Article
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The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study is poised to be the largest single-cohort long-term longitudinal study of neurodevelopment and child health in the United States. Baseline data on N= 4521 children aged 9–10 were released for public access on November 2, 2018. In this paper we performed principal component analyses of the neur...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study is an ongoing, nationwide study of the effects of environmental influences on behavioral and brain development in adolescents. The ABCD Study is a collaborative effort, including a Coordinating Center, 21 data acquisition sites across the United States, and a Data Analysis and Informatics Cent...
Article
Background: Non-medical use (NMU) of prescription opioids is a public health concern and sex differences in prevalence of NMU have been observed previously. Little is known about how youth are obtaining and using these drugs. While any regular use could be problematic, NMU is particularly concerning. More information is needed on NMU patterns amon...
Article
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Background: Treatment-seeking men with alcohol use disorder (AUD) classically exhibit a blunted hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis response to pharmacologic and behavioral provocations during the early phases of abstinence from alcohol. Independent of alcohol, a significant muting of HPA axis reactivity is also observed among racial minorit...
Conference Paper
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Background: Deficits in perception of emotionality are noted among individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs), including identification of emotional facial expressions (EFEs). Converging evidence suggests specific differences between AUD and control participants in decoding EFEs with negative valence (e.g., anger). However, few investigations sy...
Article
Accumulating evidence indicates pain may be an important risk factor for development of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and risk of relapse for people recovering from AUD. This study was conducted to characterize the prevalence and severity of significant recurrent pain and various chronic pain conditions in treatment-seeking alcoholics. In addition, we...
Article
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Rationale: Our previous work demonstrated differential neurobehavioral effects of low-dose alcohol consumption on older and younger adults in a driving simulator. However, the ability to enhance or suppress a response in such context has yet to be examined. Objectives: The current study contrasted older and younger drivers' responses to specific...
Article
Adolescence is characterized by numerous social, hormonal and physical changes, as well as a marked increase in risk-taking behaviors. Dual systems models attribute adolescent risk-taking to tensions between developing capacities for cognitive control and motivational strivings, which may peak at this time. A comprehensive understanding of neurocog...
Article
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One of the objectives of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study (https://abcdstudy.org/) is to establish a national longitudinal cohort of 9 and 10 year olds that will be followed for 10 years in order to prospectively study the risk and protective factors influencing substance use and its consequences, examine the impact of substa...
Article
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Background: Despite high prevalence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) substance use disorder (SUD) comorbidity, little is known regarding demographic characteristics associated with GAD in SUD treatment seekers. Objective: To characterize demographic differences between inpatient SUD treatment seekers reporting varying levels of GAD symptoma...
Article
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We developed an Observer-Reported Outcome (ObsRO) survey instrument to be applied in a multicenter, placebo-controlled, crossover randomized controlled trial of dichloroacetate in children with pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency. The instrument quantifies a subject's at-home level of functionality, as reported by a parent/caregiver, who were...
Article
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Background: Over the last two decades, U.S. rates of prescription opioid (PO) misuse have risen drastically. In response, federal and state governments have begun to implement new PO policies. Recent legislative changes warrant up-to-date assessments of today's misuse rates. Objective: To explore potential changes in opioid misuse trends among s...
Article
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This study examined trajectories of progression from early substance use to treatment entry as a function of race, among inpatient treatment seekers (N = 945). Following primary race-contingent analyses of use progression, secondary analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) on the observed differences. African...
Article
Patient activation, the perceived capacity to manage one’s health, is positively associated with better health outcomes and lower costs. Underlying characteristics influencing patient activation are not completely understood leading to gaps in intervention strategies designed to improve patient activation. We suggest that variability in executive f...
Article
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Background: Driver age and blood alcohol concentration are both important factors in predicting driving risk; however, little is known regarding the joint import of these factors on neural activity following socially relevant alcohol doses. We examined age and alcohol effects on brain oscillations during simulated driving, focusing on 2 region-spe...
Article
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Purpose of review Increased understanding of “how” and “for whom” treatment works at the level of the brain has potential to transform addiction treatment through the development of innovative neuroscience-informed interventions. The 2015 Science of Change meeting bridged the fields of neuroscience and psychotherapy research to identify brain mecha...
Article
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Background: Previous studies suggest older adults may be differentially susceptible to the acute neurobehavioral effects of moderate alcohol intake. To our knowledge, no studies have addressed acute moderate alcohol effects on the electrophysiological correlates of working memory in younger and older social drinkers. This study characterized alcoh...
Poster
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A strong body of research has ascertained a negative correlation between spirituality and depressive symptoms, and between spirituality and alcohol consumption. Moreover, increased spirituality has been associated with recovery and long-term abstinence in alcohol and substance use disorders. The positive influence of spirituality on depressive symp...
Article
A strong body of research has ascertained a negative correlation between spirituality and depressive symptoms, and between spirituality and alcohol consumption. Moreover, increased spirituality has been associated with recovery and long-term abstinence in alcohol and substance use disorders. The positive influence of spirituality on depressive symp...
Article
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This review addresses current literature regarding health consequences associated with of a lifestyle or pattern of moderate drinking and the neurobehavioral effects of moderate drinking episodes in older adults. Discussed studies include both large-scale epidemiological investigations of the effect of moderate alcohol use on multiple health-relate...
Article
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Background About 35 % of non-elderly U.S. adult Medicaid enrollees have a behavioral health condition, such as anxiety, mood disorders, substance use disorders, and/or serious mental illness. Individuals with serious mental illness, in particular, have mortality rates that are 2 to 3 times higher as the general population, which are due to multiple...
Article
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Objective: The purpose of this study was to clarify inconsistent findings regarding the acute cognitive effects of subintoxicating alcohol doses (i.e., <80 mg/dl) by controlling for and evaluating variables that might modulate dose-related outcomes. Method: The current study examined the effects of sex/gender and alcohol concentration on select...
Article
A limited number of publications have documented the effects of acute alcohol administration among older adults. Among these, only a few have investigated sex differences within this population. The current project examined the behavioral effects of acute low- and moderate-dose alcohol on 62 older (ages 55-70) male and female, healthy, light to mod...
Article
Background Available evidence indicates women with substance use disorders may experience more rapid progression through usage milestones (telescoping). The few investigations of sex differences in treatment-seeking populations often focus on single substances and typically do not account for significant polysubstance abuse. The current study exami...
Conference Paper
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Historically, health interventions directed to improving outcomes among large samples/populations have focused primarily on program characteristics rather than patient characteristics that might modulate outcomes. One potentially critical factor is the cognitive capacity of program recipients. Although cognitive engagement is a prerequisite for pro...
Article
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In this chapter, we review existing research regarding sex differences in alcohol's effects on neurobehavioral functions/processes. Drawn largely from laboratory studies, literature regarding acute alcohol administration and chronic alcohol misuse is explored focusing on commonly employed neuropsychologic domains (e.g., executive function, visuospa...
Article
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Unlabelled: ABSTRACT. Objective: Despite substantial attention being paid to the health benefits of moderate alcohol intake as a lifestyle, the acute effects of alcohol on psychomotor and working memory function in older adults are poorly understood. Method: The effects of low to moderate doses of alcohol on neurobehavioral function were inves...
Article
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Background This review incorporates current research examining alcohol's differential effects on adolescents, adults, and aged populations in both animal and clinical models.Methods The studies presented range from cognitive, behavioral, molecular, and neuroimaging techniques, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of how acute and chronic a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Introduction: Despite an extensive literature documenting the health benefits of a moderate drinking lifestyle, the acute effects of moderate consumption and how they change across the lifespan have remained understudied. Our previous report (Sklar et al., 2013) observed an increased sensitivity to alcohol among older drivers on basic components of...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence from a growing body of literature suggests that alcohol, even at moderate-dose levels, disrupts the ability to ignore distractors. However, little work has been done to elucidate the neural processes underlying this deficit. The present study was conducted to determine if low-to-moderate alcohol doses affect sensory gating, an electrophysi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although its rates in the general population have decreased in recent decades, cigarette smoking remains a highly comorbid condition among persons with substance use dependencies. Recent data reported by our laboratory indicate that ~ 90% of men and women seeking treatment for alcohol and other substances are current smokers. Our initial studies of...
Article
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There is a substantial body of literature documenting the deleterious effects of both alcohol consumption and age on driving performance. There is, however, limited work examining the interaction of age and acute alcohol consumption. The current study was conducted to determine if moderate alcohol doses differentially affect the driving performance...
Article
Previous cross-sectional MRI studies with healthy, young-to-middle-aged adults reported no significant differences between smokers and non-smokers on total hippocampal volume. However, these studies did not specifically test for greater age-related volume loss in the total hippocampus or hippocampal subregions in smokers, and did they did not exami...
Article
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Background: Available evidence suggests women may be more vulnerable to the effects of chronic alcohol consumption than men. The few investigations of gender differences in treatment-seeking populations have often involved study samples restricted by selection criteria (e.g., age, education). The current study examined gender differences in a hete...
Article
Purpose of review: This article reviews recent findings regarding neurobehavioral factors which may be associated with risk for alcohol misuse, as well as those which may occur as a result of alcohol misuse during adolescence and emerging adulthood. Recent findings: Current research extends previous findings by engaging multiple assessment metho...
Article
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Although the biphasic effects of acute alcohol during ascending and descending Breath Alcohol Concentrations (BrACs) are well described, the plateau period between peak and steadily descending BrACs is generally unrecognized and under-studied by researchers. Naturalistic examinations indicate such periods persist for substantial intervals, with a t...
Article
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High ego-strength subjects, determined by the Cattell 16PF, were shown to be inferior to low ego-strength subjects in learning paired associations by the anticipation method, whereas the reverse was true when learning by the study/test method, when the list involved noncompeting materials. High ego strength is assumed to correlate with a high degre...
Article
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Objectives: The prevalence of substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders among physicians is not well-established. We determined differences in lifetime substance use, and abuse/dependence as well as other psychiatric disorders, comparing physicians undergoing monitoring with a general population that had sought treatment for substance use....
Article
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Although the environmental context effect typically refers to superior performance in the context of original learning, this result is not consistently found across all experimental paradigms or instructional sets. Thus far, a precise statement of the underlying mechanisms and boundaries of the context effect has been absent from the literature, wi...