The purpose of this study is to identify factors associated with adolescent alcohol or drug (AOD) abuse/dependence, mental health and co-occurring problems; as well as factors associated with access to treatment. This is a secondary analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2000. The 12-month prevalence rate of adolescents with only mental health problems was 10.8%, 5.1% had only AOD abuse/dependence only, and 2.7% had co-occurring problems. Approximately 15% of youth reported receiving behavioral health treatment in the past 12 months. Several factors associated with having behavioral health problems and receiving treatment are presented.
adolescent; substance abuse; mental health; epidemiology
The present study examines several types of social anxiety that may be associated with the onset of alcohol use in middle school students, and whether the relationship differs by sex and grade. Students in the seventh and eighth grades (N = 2621) completed the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents and a measure of lifetime drinking via school-wide surveys. Distinct aspects of social anxiety were associated with higher and lower rates of onset of alcohol use. A high level of fear of negative evaluation was associated with drinking initiation in boys and girls, while girls who reported no social anxiety or distress in new situations were more likely than other groups to have started drinking by early adolescence. Youth with either very low or very high levels of generalized anxiety had higher rates of drinking than youth with scores in between. These findings suggest that the relationship between social anxiety and initiation of alcohol use is complex and varies by type of anxiety symptomatology.
alcohol use; adolescent; social anxiety
Teen pregnancy is associated with a host of deleterious outcomes for girls such as drug use and poor parenting. Thus, reducing teen pregnancy rates could improve long-term developmental outcomes for girls, improving adjustment during young adulthood. Based on the positive effects of Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) relative to group care (GC) in a study of adolescent girls—significantly fewer pregnancies reported in the 2-year follow-up for MTFC girls—the present study followed this sample into young adulthood (approximately 7 years postbaseline) to examine the effects of adolescent pregnancy on young adult substance use and pregnancy-related outcomes. All participants were randomly assigned to MTFC (n = 81) or GC (n = 85) as adolescents as part of two RCTs. Results from logistic regression analyses indicated that becoming pregnant during the 2-year follow-up was significantly related to illicit drug use, miscarriage from a new pregnancy, and child welfare involvement at 7 years postbaseline. In addition, baseline marijuana use predicted marijuana use at 7 years postbaseline.
teen pregnancy; young adulthood; juvenile justice; drug use; RCT
This paper evaluated the Pathways Home manualized selective preventive intervention designed to prevent reunification failures once children are returned home to their biological parent(s) after first time stays in foster care (n = 101). The theoretically based intervention focused on support and parent management practices designed to prevent the development of child behavior problems including internalizing and externalizing problems, and substance use. Intent to treat analyses employed probability growth curve approaches for repeated telephone assessments over 16 weeks of intervention. Findings showed that relative to services as usual reunification families, the Pathways Home families demonstrated better parenting strategies that were in turn associated with reductions in problem behaviors over time. Growth in problem behaviors in turn predicted foster care re-entry. Maternal substance use cravings were a risk factor for growth in problem behaviors that were buffered by participation in the Pathways Home intervention.
reunification; foster care; prevention; parenting; substance use
Truant youth represent a critical group needing problem-oriented research and involvement in effective services. The limited number of studies on the psychosocial functioning of truant youths have focused on one or a few problem areas, rather than examining co-morbid problem behaviors. The present study addresses the need to examine the interrelationships of multiple domains of psychosocial functioning, including substance involvement, mental health, and delinquency, among truant youth. Exploratory structural equation modeling on baseline data collected on 219 truant youths identified two major factors reflecting psychosocial functioning, and found the factor structure was similar across major sociodemographic subgroups. Further analyses supported the validity of the factor structure. The research and service delivery implications of the findings are discussed.
Truancy; psychosocial problems; mental health; substance use; delinquency
Smoking, drinking, and illicit drug use are leading causes of morbidity and mortality, both during adolescence as well as later in life. Although for some adolescents, substance use may last for only a brief period of experimentation, use of these substances in adolescence may have negative consequences. The determination of how well national and local policy and intervention efforts address teen substance use depends largely on the collection of valid and accurate data. Assessments of substance use rely heavily on retrospective self-report measures. The reliability and validity of self-reported substance use measures, however, may be limited by various sources of measurement error. This study utilizes four waves of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth spanning eight years. Our wave-to-wave analyses examined the accuracy of self-reported age of onset for cigarette, alcohol and marijuana users. Findings indicate that approximately one-fourth of cigarette users, one-fifth of alcohol users and one-third of marijuana users reported their age of onset exactly the same across waves. Of those who reported the age of onset inaccurately, the error tended to be in the direction of reporting their age of onset as older at a latter wave relative to what was reported previously, known as forward telescoping. Results from multiple linear regression analyses showed that the single most consistent variable associated with telescoping was the number of years since the substance was first reported. Time since first report was the single consistent and strongly associated with telescoping in each wave-to-wave comparison for all three substances under study. Implications for policy and research are discussed.
Associations between trajectories of depressive symptoms and subsequent tobacco and alcohol use were examined in two samples of girls assessed at age 11.5 (T1), 12.5 (T2), and 13.5 (T3). Two samples were examined to ascertain if there was generalizability of processes across risk levels and cultures. Study 1 comprised a United States-based sample of 100 girls in foster care; Study 2 comprised 264 girls in a United Kingdom community-based sample. Controlling for T1 aggression and T1 substance use, individual variation in intercept and slope of depressive symptoms was associated with tobacco use at T3 in both samples: greater intercept and increases in depressive symptoms increased the risk for T3 tobacco use. A similar pattern of associations was found for alcohol use in Study 1. The replicability of findings for the prediction of tobacco use from trajectories of depressive symptoms suggests potential benefit in identifying girls with elevated depressive symptoms for tobacco use prevention programs prior to the transition to secondary school.
adolescent girls; alcohol use; tobacco use; depression; longitudinal
Reflective of interest in mental health and substance abuse issues among youths involved with the justice system, we performed a latent class analysis on baseline information collected on 100 youths involved in two diversion programs. Results identified two groups of youths: Group 1: a majority of the youths, who had high levels of delinquency, mental health and substance abuse issues, Group 2: youths with low levels of these problems. Comparison of these two groups on a variety of psychosocial measures and parent/guardian reports found differences between them that were consistent with their problem group classification. Follow-up analysis confirmed problem behavior that was consistent with the youths’ latent class placement. Implications of the findings for research and practice will be presented.
diversion youth; risk classification of juvenile offenders; latent class analysis
The 12-month cost effectiveness of juvenile drug court and evidence-based treatments within Court were compared with traditional Family Court for 128 substance abusing/dependent juvenile offenders participating in a four-condition randomized trial. Intervention conditions included Family Court with community services (FC), Drug Court with community services (DC), Drug Court with Multisystemic Therapy (DC/MST), and Drug Court with MST enhanced with a contingency management program (DC/MST/CM). Average cost effectiveness ratios for substance use and criminal behavior outcomes revealed that economic efficiency in achieving outcomes generally improved from FC to DC, with the addition of evidence-based treatments improving efficiency in obtaining substance use outcomes.
juvenile drug court; cost effectiveness; substance abuse; multisystemic therapy; contingency management
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between substance use and sexual orientation among Asian adolescents in Canada. We analyzed an East and Southeast Asian subsample of a province-wide, school-based survey (weighted N = 51,349). Compared to heterosexual adolescents of the same gender, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and mostly heterosexual adolescents were more likely to use alcohol, marijuana, or other illicit drugs. Particularly, sexual minority girls were at increased risk for substance use. The findings suggest the need for substance use prevention interventions that are sensitive to gender, sexual orientation, and culture.
adolescents; Asian; sexual orientation; substance use
A prospective multi-site study examined organizational climate and structure effects on the behavior and functioning of delinquent youth with and without co-occurring substance treated with an evidence-based treatment for serious antisocial behavior (i.e., Multisystemic Therapy). Participants were 1979 youth treated by 429 therapists across 45 provider organizations in North America. Results of Mixed Effects Regression Models showed some aspects of climate and structure had no effects, some had similar effects, and some had slightly differential and sometimes counter-intuitive effects on the outcomes of these youth. Implications are considered for research to increase the array and availability of effective treatments for youth with co-occurring substance use across service sectors.
This study examined teen marijuana report stability over eight years. The stability of self-reports refers to the consistency of self-reported use across several years.
This study used fives waves of data across eight years from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Analyses were conducted to examine the internal or within wave consistency as well as external or across waves consistency for self-reported marijuana use. Further tests were conducted to identify if there were any differences for age, ethnicity and sex for report consistency.
Report stability was higher for lifetime use reports than the age of onset reports. Wave-by-wave differences revealed stability remained at acceptable levels in nearly all comparisons at agreement being about 75%. Overall, report agreement was higher for females, older adolescents, and Non-Hispanic/Non-Black youth in bivariate analyses. However, only older chronological age remained consistently significantly associated with better report stability in multiple logistic regression models. Implications regarding misclassification of users for prevention programs and measurement issues are discussed.
Measurement; Report Stability; Reliability; Marijuana
Early conduct problems have been linked to early marijuana use in adolescence. The present study examines this association in a sample of 1,076 college students that was divided into three groups: 1) early marijuana users (began marijuana use prior to age 15; n=126), 2) late marijuana users (began marijuana use at or after age 15; n=607), and 3) non-users (never used marijuana; n=343). A conduct problem inventory used in previous studies was adapted for use in the present study. Early conduct problems were associated with early marijuana use but not with late marijuana use, holding constant other risk factors. Results suggest that early conduct problems are a risk factor for early marijuana use even among academically-achieving college-bound students.
conduct problems; marijuana; cannabis; adolescents; college students
Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examined the associations among family bonding factors and the initiation of smoking by race/ethnicity and age group among nonsmokers at Wave 1. Overall, 18% of the sample initiated smoking by Wave 2. For younger African American and Hispanic youth, high maternal satisfaction with the relationship was significantly protective of smoking initiation. For older Hispanics, high parental presence and high parent-family connectedness were protective against smoking initiation while lack of awareness about the adolescent’s whereabouts was a risk factor for initiation in both younger and older Caucasians, and in the older Hispanics. Our results underscore the importance of maintaining high levels of family bonding with the adolescent throughout early and late adolescence in order to decrease tobacco initiation.
Adolescence; Smoking initiation; Parental influence; Ethnicity; Race
A continuing debate in the child psychopathology literature is the extent to which pharmacotherapy for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in particular stimulant treatment, confers a risk of subsequent drug abuse. If stimulant treatment for ADHD contributes to drug abuse, then the risk versus therapeutic benefits of such treatment is greatly affected. We have prospectively followed an ADHD sample (N = 149; 81% males) for approximately 15 years, beginning at childhood (ages 8 to 10 years) and continuing until the sample has reached young adulthood (ages 22 to 24 years). The sample was originally recruited via an epidemiologically derived community procedure, and all youths were diagnosed with ADHD during childhood. We report on the association of childhood psychostimulant medication and subsequent substance use disorders and tobacco use. The substance use outcomes were based on data collected at three time points when the sample was in late adolescence and young adulthood (age range approximately 18 to 22 years old). We did not find evidence to support that childhood treatment with stimulant medication, including the course of stimulant medication, was associated with any change in risk for adolescent or young adulthood substance use disorders and tobacco use. These results from a community-based sample extend the growing body of literature based on clinically derived samples indicating that stimulant treatment does not create a significant risk for subsequent substance use disorders.
ADHD; drug abuse; stimulant medication; tobacco use
Increasing interest has been shown in Brief Interventions for troubled persons, including those with substance abuse problems. Most of the published literature on this topic has focused on adults, and on the efficacy of these interventions. Few of these studies have examined the critical issues of enrollment and engagement in Brief Intervention services. The present paper seeks to address the shortcomings in the current literature by reporting on our experiences implementing NIDA funded, Brief Intervention projects involving truant and diversion program youth.
Crack and cocaine use among adults has been associated with co-occurring psychiatric disorders as well as other drug use and unprotected sex. However, this issue is relatively unstudied in adolescents. This study collected data from 282 adolescents (mean age=14.9 years) treated in intensive psychiatric treatment settings to understand the relationship between crack/cocaine use and HIV risk. Thirteen percent of youth reported ever using crack or cocaine. Use was not associated with age, gender, race/ethnicity or SES. After controlling for known factors that influence unprotected sex, the odds that those with a history of crack/cocaine use engaged in inconsistent condom use was six times greater than that for those youth who did not ever use. Thus, crack/cocaine use is prevalent even among younger adolescents with psychiatric disorders who are not in drug treatment. Its use is associated with high rates of sexual and other risk behaviors. A history of use should alert clinicians to a wide variety of possible behavioral risks. These results can also inform future adolescent HIV prevention intervention development.
adolescent; crack; cocaine; sexual risk behavior; HIV; psychopathology
Alcohol and other substance use disorders (AUD/SUD) are common among youth and often continue into adulthood; therefore, the neurocognitive effects of substance use are of great concern. Because neuromaturation continues into young adulthood, youth with AUD/SUD may be at risk for lasting cognitive decrements. This study prospectively examines neuropsychological functioning over 10 years as a function of AUD/SUD history and outcomes.
The 51 participants consisted of 18 youth with persisting AUD/SUD, 19 youth with remitted AUD/SUD, and 14 community youth with no AUD/SUD history followed over 10 years (ages 16 to 27 on average) with neuropsychological testing and substance use interviews on 8 occasions. Neuropsychological performance from baseline to 10-year follow-up was compared between the three groups.
Despite scoring higher than controls at intake, both AUD/SUD groups showed a relative decline in visuospatial construction at 10-year follow-up (p=.001). Regressions showed that alcohol use (β=−.33, p < .01) and drug withdrawal symptoms (β=−.31, p<.05) over follow-up were predictive of year 10 visuospatial function. Alcohol use also predicted verbal learning and memory (β=−.28, p<.05), while stimulant use predicted visual learning and memory function (β=−.33, p=.01). More recent substance use was associated with poorer executive function (β=.28, p<.05).
These findings confirm prior studies suggesting that heavy, chronic alcohol and other substance use persisting from adolescence to young adulthood may produce cognitive disadvantages, primarily in visuospatial and memory abilities. Youth who chronically consume heavy quantities of alcohol and/or experience drug withdrawal symptoms may be particularly at risk for cognitive deterioration by young adulthood.
adolescence; young adulthood; alcohol; substance use disorders; withdrawal; neurocognition; memory; visuospatial function; executive function
This study was a crosscultural replication of a study that investigated therapist adherence to behavioral interventions as a result of an intensive quality assurance system which was integrated into Multisystemic Therapy. Thirty-three therapists and eight supervisors participated in the study and were block randomized to either an Intensive Quality Assurance or a Workshop Only condition. Twenty-one of these therapists treated 41 cannabis-abusing adolescents and their families. Therapist adherence and youth drug screens were collected during a five-month baseline period prior to the workshop on contingency management and during 12 months post workshop. The results replicated the previous finding that therapist adherence to the cognitive-behavioral interventions, but not to contingency management, showed a strong positive difference in trend in favor of the intensive quality assurance condition. While the clinical impact of such quality assurance may be delayed and remains to be demonstrated, cannabis abstinence increased as a function of time in therapy, and was more likely with stronger therapy adherence to contingency management, but did not differ across quality assurance interventions.
adolescent substance abuse; quality assurance; contingency management; cognitive-behavioral techniques; effective implementation; crosscultural replication
Problem behavior theory posits that tolerance of deviance is an antecedent to antisocial behavior and substance use. In contrast, cognitive dissonance theory implies that acceptability of a behavior may increase after experiencing the behavior. Using structural equation modeling, this investigation tested whether changes in tolerance of deviance precede changes in conduct disorder criteria or substance use or vice versa, or if they change concomitantly. Two-year longitudinal data from 246 8- to 16-year-olds suggested that tolerance of deviance increases after conduct disorder criteria or substance use in 8-to-10- and 11-to-12-year-olds. These results were consistent with cognitive dissonance theory. In 13-to-16- year-olds, no directionality was suggested, consistent with neither theory. These results were replicated in boys and girls and for different types of conduct disorder criteria aggression (covert behavior), deceitfulness and vandalism (overt behavior), and serious rule-breaking (authority conflict). The age-specific directionality between tolerance of deviance and conduct disorder criteria or substance use is consistent with unique etiologies between early onset versus adolescent-onset subtypes of behavior problems.
adolescents; children; conduct disorder criteria; substance use; tolerance of deviance
The purpose of this study was to evaluate a brief version of the Marijuana Effect Expectancy Questionnaire (MEEQ; Schafer & Brown, 1991). The original MEEQ was reduced to 6 items (MEEQ-B). Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed and two factors were identified (positive effects and negative effects) accounting for 52.3% of the variance. Internal consistencies (0.42 to 0.60) were slightly lower than those of the original MEEQ. The negative effect expectancy scale correlated with criterion variables that assess marijuana use (p ≤ .05). This measure is a helpful tool for clinicians to use when assessing youth expectancies. Replication across different samples of adjudicated youth is recommended.
Adolescent; incarcerated; marijuana effect expectancies
We examined relationships between self-structure and known precursors for alcohol problems in 9–12 year old primarily Black and Latino youth (N=79). Parental alcohol problems and being female predicted few positive and many negative self-cognitions and a future-oriented self-cognition related to alcohol (‘drinking possible self’). Nineteen percent of the sample reported ever drinking, but 40% of those with a ‘drinking possible self’ reported ever drinking. Compared never drinkers, youth who reported ever drinking had fewer self-cognitions. The self-structure may be an important mechanism through which parental alcohol problems and antisocial behavior lead to early alcohol use, and a viable target of interventions aimed at preventing early alcohol use.
theoretical model; schema model of the self-concept; adolescents; risk behavior
Data were collected on arrested youths processed at a centralized intake facility, including youths released back to the community and those placed in secure detention. This paper reports the results of a test of a structural model involving newly arrested male and female youths’ sexually transmitted diseases (STD) test results, urine analysis results for recent cocaine and marijuana use, and self-reported engaging in risky sexual behavior. The across gender, multiple group model involved: (1) a confirmatory factor analysis of these variables, reflecting a latent variable labeled Risk, (2) a regression of Risk on the youths’ age, and (3) an examination of the covariance between Risk and the youths’ race and seriousness of arrest charge. Results indicate the youths’ STD status, drug use, and reported risky sexual behavior are interrelated phenomena, similarly experienced across gender. Age was the only correlate of Risk status that demonstrated a significant gender group difference. The youths’ race and seriousness of arrest charges did not significantly affect Risk, regardless of gender. Research and policy implications of the findings are discussed.
Juvenile offenders; risky sexual behavior; substance use; sexually transmitted disease
This study focused on the sexual phenomenon of “hooking-up.” A hook-up is defined as a single sexual encounter that may or may not include sexual intercourse with someone who is a stranger, brief acquaintance, or friend. The aim of this study was to document the prevalence of hook-ups in a sample of 1,011 urban, middle and high school students and to examine the relationship between hooking-up and a variety of problem behaviors, including, alcohol, cigarette, illicit drug use, truancy, and school suspensions. The results revealed that 28% of the sample had engaged in at least one hook-up experience, and this percentage increased with age. Hook-ups were correlated moderately with all problem behaviors examined.
adolescence; problem behaviors; risk taking; sexual activity; hook-ups; alcohol use; drug use
Little information describes how adolescents change their smoking behavior. This study investigated the role of gender in the relationship of motivation and cognitive variables with adolescent smoking self-change efforts. Self-report and semi-structured interview data from a prospective study of smoking self-change efforts were examined among 98 adolescent smokers ages 14–18 (55% female). Social disapproval motives and short-term consequence reasons for quitting, quit self-efficacy and intentions to quit were modeled in relation to prospective self-quit attempts assessed at a 6-month follow-up, separately by gender. Hypothesized mediating relationships were not supported although gender differences were noted. Social influence motives related to intention to quit and prospective self-quit attempts among girls. For boys, intention to quit predicted making a self-quit attempt. Findings emphasize the importance of examining adolescent models separately by gender and contribute to understanding of mechanisms involved in adolescent smoking change efforts.
adolescent; smoking; process model; self-change; gender