Pathways among Abuse, Daily Hassles, Depression, and Substance Use in Adolescents

S. Jeffrey Bailey, Katherine Covell


Currently, high school drug education programs lack information about the relationship between negative life events and substance use. The research described here was designed to explore the relationships between the experience of abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional), daily hassles, depression, and adolescent drug usage. A questionnaire including measures of abuse (Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire), daily hassles (Inventory of High-School Students Recent Life Experiences), depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale), and substance use (Nova Scotia Drug Survey) was completed by 112 male and 78 female high school students. The findings supported the self-medication hypothesis and indicated that both abuse and daily hassles were related to the use of substances (e.g., alcohol and non-medical use of prescription drugs) and that the relationship between daily hassles and substance use was mediated by depression. In turn, the use of alcohol and non-medical use of prescription drugs increased the likelihood of illicit drug use. Drug education strategies that emphasize the importance of coping skills and the role of depression as an antecedent to drug use are discussed.

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