Substance abuse and associated psychiatric disorder among 100 adolescents

Joe Westermeyer, Sheila Specker, John Neider, Mary Ayn Lingenfelter

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11 Scopus citations


One hundred adolescents aged 14 to 20 were studied in treatment programs located in two states (Minnesota and Oklahoma). The purpose of the study was to assess the course of substance use, number and type of substance disorder dianoses, severity of substance disorder, treatment history for subsance disorder, and psychiatric comorbidity. Duration of course, frequency of substance use, abuse vs. dependence, types of substances used, and associated problems are described as a function of age. Areas of psychiatric and social assessment included: (1)psychiatric self rating scales in those 17 yeears and older (BDI and SCL-90); (2) psychiatrist rated scales (Hamiltons for anxiety and depression, BPRS, GAS); (3) psychosocial status (Hollingshead and Redlich SES, DSM-III Axes 3 and 4); (4) associated Axis 1 psychiatric diagnoses; (5) family history of mood and other psychiatric disorder; (6) childhood history; and (7) history of previous psychiatric treatment. These data confirm the severity of substance use among younger adolescents presenting to clinical facilities with substance disorder, but further reveal progressive substance disorder severity as these adolescents age. Both self rated and psychiatrist rated scales showed increased depressive symptoms with increasing age. Eating Disorders occurred more often among older adolescents. Loss of either parent in childhood was associated with younger current age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-89
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Addictive Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 18 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Laureate Psychiatric Foundation of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and by the University of Minnesota. Dr. James Halikas, Mr. Bobak Nayeri, Ms. Linda Gerber-Schreiner and Ms. Kate Spong assisted with data collection.


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