Positive aspects of youth development and drug use examined in new study

positive aspects youth development drug use

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug Issues sought to examine the perceived strengths of teenagers entering rehab for substance use disorders and found that certain perceived strengths, or lack thereof, were predictive of this group.

“This knowledge has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the role of strengths as promotive factors and is also relevant to the ongoing development of strengths-based treatment programs,” the researchers stated.

On average, adolescents coming into treatment scored lower on most scales used to examine various aspects of strength, in relation to a comparative group of school-based teenagers. The scales analyzed strengths that were similar to promotive factors and examined perceived strengths pertaining to family relations, use of leisure time, engagement in school, positive peer relationships, decision making and self-regulation, and engagement in community activities.

The research also illustrated significant differences in the strengths perceived by adolescents entering substance abuse treatment that could operate as the main focus of strengths-based interventions.

The main objective of the study was to review strengths from various age- and gender-matched youth who had no substance use, recurrent substance use, and those beginning rehabilitation for serious substance use. Researchers used the Strengths Assessment Inventory — a tool used to assess social and psychological strengths — and observed patterns of strengths.

All groups contained 43 participants between ages 14 and 18. Participants in the residential addiction treatment program group submitted the Psychoactive Drug History Questionnaire (PDHQ). The PDHQ was used in interviews to identify the prevalence and volume of drug use in the last 90 days and assessed several types of drugs including alcohol, over-the-counter opiates, prescription opiates, inhalants, hallucinogens, tobacco and other psychoactive substances.

In the school-based sample, the self-reported version of the Conners Comprehensive Behavior Rating (CBRS) was applied, which is a scale used to examine various conditions experienced by adolescents. The rating system, in relation to drug use, was based on a scale of 0 to 3: never, occasionally, often and very often, respectively.

Based on gender, age and CBRS scores, 77 participants qualified to be included in… (continue reading)