The development of a questionnaire to identify adolescents at risk from substance abuse

Sutherland, I., 2001. The development of a questionnaire to identify adolescents at risk from substance abuse. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The aim of this research was to develop a psychometric instrument (the Substance Abuse Susceptibility Index, SASI) capable of identifying young people at risk from substance abuse. The intention was to be able to do this before their substance using careers began. The SASI was designed in two sections: Section 1 which concentrated on psychological variables such as levels of self-esteem and Section 2 on sociological variables such as family structure and peer substance use. The work was undertaken from a biopsychosocial perspective and employed a risk factor or risk assessment paradigm.

The thesis will present findings from five main studies. Prevalence data will be presented in detail as will information on the relationship of psychological and sociological variables to substance abuse. In addition, detailed information will be given on the development of the SASI and models of adolescent substance abuse will be presented. The key findings from the studies were;

Studies 1 and 2: These studies were prevalence studies. 36.9% of the subjects who returned useable questionnaires said that they did not use any kind of psychotropic substance. Overall, the prevalence of substance use rose from 30.4% of the sample at age 11 to 83.9% at age 16 (Figure 3.1). Alcohol was the most heavily used substance with 30.4% of the sample drinking at age 11, rising to 83.9% at age 16. Cigarettes were the second most heavily used substance with 5.4% of 11-year olds smoking, rising to 29.5% at age 15 and decreasing slightly to 26.6% at age 16. Regular use of illegal drugs rose from 1.3% of the sample at age 11 to 31.8%) of the sample at age 16.

Study 3: Study 3, the Open Closed Study, was a small study which attempted to assess the reliability of the SASI when children were asked to identify themselves (the Open group) compared with when they were asked to report anonymously (the Closed group). No overall differences were found in levels of reported use between the groups for either cigarettes, alcohol or illicit drugs. Similarly, no differences were found in the psychological variables being measured between the two groups.

Study 4: The study was designed as a replication of Study 2 and aimed to assess the reliability of the SASI when applied across groups. Although there were some prevalence and statistical differences between Study 2 and Study 4, the overall conclusions from the two studies remained, essentially, the same. Data from this study was also used to develop models of substance use.

Study 5: This final study was designed to validate the SASI through confirmation of the prevalence data presented earlier and through confirmation of the models developed from Study 4, It was found that the prevalence data were consistent with the earlier data and that the models were stable across the studies.

The conclusion of this research is that, within the limits of cross sectional data, the SASI is a valid and reliable instrument capable of identifying adolescents at risk from substance abuse although further, longitudinal work is needed to confirm this conclusion.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Sutherland, I.
Date: 2001
ISBN: 9781369324730
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 24 Jun 2021 09:36
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2023 13:50

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