Relative risk of adolescent drug abuse: Part II Intrapsychic variables

Sections

ABSTRACT
Introduction
Research instruments used
Data processing
Results
Discussion

Details

Author: P. K. RUSTAGI, G. G. PRABHU, D. MOHAN, K. R. SUNDARAM
Pages: 33 to 40
Creation Date: 1981/01/01

Relative risk of adolescent drug abuse: Part II Intrapsychic variables

P. K. RUSTAGI
G. G. PRABHU
D. MOHAN
K. R. SUNDARAM
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AHMS), New Delhi, India

ABSTRACT

The total sample size for the study of intrapsychic variables was 252 (152 non-drug users and 100 life-time users including 69 current users). Using a multiphasic personality questionnaire, the Eysenck personality inventory and an orientation questionnaire, the authors found that high orientation, extraversion, anxiety and psychopathic deviate scores were associated with a relative risk of drug use. No significant difference is reported between the mean scores of users and non-users on mania, paranoia, depression, schizophrenia, hysteria and neuroticism.

Introduction

Part I of this study described the relative risk of drug abuse associated with some socio-demographic and interpersonal variables [ 1] . Part II describes the results of the study of intrapsychic variables. The total sample size for the study of intrapsychic variables was 252 (152 non-users, 100 lifetime users, of whom 69 were current users). Operational definitions, sampling procedure and method of test administration were outlined in Part I.

Research instruments used

  1. . Multiphasic personality questionnaire (MPQ). A self-administered questionnaire standardized in India on MMPI pattern [ 2] , [ 3] , [ 4] , [ 5] , [ 6] with seven clinical scales (mania, paranoia, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, hysteria and psychopathic deviate) and one validation scale (K).

  2. Eysenck personality inventory (EPI). Applied with minor modification for use in India [ 7] .

  3. Orientation questionnaire. In Likert [ 8] format with seven opinion statements about drug use.

Data processing

Data regarding each scale of the above-mentioned tests were analysed separately to find whether the mean score of non-users was significantly different from that of current users and life-time users.

Variables in which significant differences were found on one or both of these comparisons were subjected to further analysis. For each of these variables, the total sample median was calculated. Using this (the nearest whole number) as the dividing line, all participants were divided into low and high scorers. Relative risk of current use and life-time use associated with a high score on each of these variables was computed.

In the case of M PQ, besides the eight conventional scales, the sum of the scores on the seven clinical scales was taken as a separate variable and called "total psychopathology".

Significance level in the above-mentioned calculation was taken at p < 0.05.

Results

Orientation. Table 1 shows that there was a significant difference between the mean orientation score of non-users and users. Relative risk of current use for high scorers was 1.83 while that of life-time use was 1.47.

Table 1

Orientation scores

 

Non-users (NU)

Current users (CU)

Life-time users (LU) a

Mean
12.29 14.23 14.02
S.E.
0.33 0.51 0.45
   
NU vs. CU
NU vs. LU
   
t = 3.27
t = 2.44
   
p<0.01
p<0.01
Total sample median = 11.68
     
       
Score
Non-users
Current users
Life-time users
≤12
89 26 43
>12
61 43 56
Relative risk of current use = 1.83
     
 
χ2=8.04
p<0.01
 
Relative risk of life-time use = 1.47
     
 
χ2=5.43
p<0.05
 

Eysenck personality inventory. While the mean extraversion scores of users were significantly higher than non-users (table 2), no such difference was observed for the lie and neuroticism scales. Relative risk with respect to higher scores on extraversion was 2.06 for current use and 1.70 for life-time use.

Table 2 Extraversion scores

Table 2

Extraversion scores

 

Non-users (NU)

Current users (CU)

Life-time users (LU) a

Mean
10.78 13.03 12.82
S.E.
0.32 0.54 0.45
   
NU vs. CU
NU vs. LU
   
t=3.72
t=3.77
   
p<0.001
p<0.001
Total sample median = 11.04
     
       
Score
Non-users
Current users
Life-time users
≤11
89 23 37
>11
63 46 63
Relative risk of current use =2.06
     
 
χ2 = 11.09
p <0.01
 
Relative risk of life-time use = 1.70
     
 
χ2 = 10.36
p <0.01
 

Multiphasic personality inventory. Current users and life-time users scored significantly higher than non-users on the anxiety and psychopathic deviate scales, as well as the total psychopathology score (tables 3, 4 and 5). Relative risk for higher scores on the anxiety scale was 1.67 for current use and 1.40 for life-time use. Higher scores were obtained in respect of the psychopathic deviate scale. Relative risk of current use was 1.93 and that of life-time use was 1.78. With higher total psychopathology scores, relative risk of current use was 1.70 and that of life-time use was 1.35.

Table 3 Anxiety scores

Table 3

Anxiety scores

 

Non-users (NU)

Current users (CU)

Life-time users (LU) a

Mean
7.03 8.99 7.83
S.E.
0.26 0.41 0.34
   
NU vs. CU
NU vs. LU
   
t= -2.19
t= -1.88
   
p<0.05
Not significant
Total sample median=6.33
     
       
Score
Non-users
Current users
Life-time users
≤6
80 24 39
>6
72 45 61
Relative risk of current use = 1.67
     
 
χ2 =5.37
p < 0.05
 
Relative risk of life-time use = 1.40
     
 
χ2 =3.96
p < 0.05
 

Table 4

Psychopathic deviate scores

 

Non-users (NU)

Current users (CU)

Life-time users (LU) a

Mean
10.78 12.33 12.33
S.E.
0.27 0.41 0.38
   
NU vs. CU
NU vs. LU
   
t =3.18
t =3.40
   
p < 0.01
p < 0.001
Total sample median = 10.5
     
       
Score
Non-users
Current users
Life-time users
≤10
83 22 32
>10
69 47 68
Relative risk of current use = 1.93
     
 
χ2= 8.93
p < 0.01
 
Relative risk of life-time use = 1.78
     
 
χ2= 11.53
p < 0.001
 

Table 5

Total psychopathology scores

 

Non-users (NU)

Current users (CU)

Life-time users (LU) a

Mean
36.23 40.46 39.88
S.E.
1.05 1.56 1.35
   
NU vs. CU
NU vs. LU
   
t = 2.25
t = 2.14
   
p < 0.05
p < 0.05
Total sample median = 34.50
     
       
Score
Non-users
Current users
Life-time users
≤34
81 24 41
>34
71 45 59
Relative risk of current use = 1.70
     
 
χ2= 5.80
p < 0.05
 
Relative risk of life-time use = 1.35
     
 
χ2= 3.17
Not significant
 

There was no significant difference between the mean scores of users and non-users on mania, paranoia, depression, schizophrenia, hysteria and K scales of MPQ.

Test-retest reliability at three months' interval (N= 25)

Correlation co-efficient (r) was 0.50 (p < 0.001) for the orientation scale, 0.66 (p<0.001) for the mania scale, 0.44 (p<0.05) for the paranoia scale, 0.40 (p < 0.05) for the depression scale, 0.58 (p < 0.001) for the schizophrenia scale, 0.75 (p<0.001) for the anxiety scale, 0.63 (p<0.001) for the psychopathic deviate scale, 0.19 (not significant) for the hysteria scale, 0.71 (p<0.001) for the K scale, 0.73 (p<0.001) for the total psychopathology score, 0.56 (p<0.001) for the extraversion scale, 0.74 (p<0.001) for the neuroticism scale and 0.61 (p<0.001) for the lie scale.

Discussion

In assessing intrapsychic variables associated with drug abuse among high-school students, three self-administered questionnaires were used.

Drug abuse was found to be significantly associated with higher orientation scores. This finding is in line with some previous studies [ 9] , [ 10] , [ 11] but docs not agree with another [ 12] . In relation to this variable, relative risk of current use was 1.83 while that of life-time use was 1.47. Factors influencing adolescents' orientation to drug abuse could be many and could include attitudes and behaviour of friends and family members, childhood experiences and the mass media.

In the case of EPI, higher extraversion scores were associated with drug abuse. Relative risk associated with a higher level of extraversion was 2.06 for current use and 1.70 for life-time use. Studies with EPI and other similar inventories in the past [ 11] , [ 13] , [ 14] , [ 15] , [ 16] , [ 17] , [ 18] , [ 19] , [ 20] gave normal (similar to control group) or higher extraversion scores for drug abusers. No study to our knowledge has reported a lower extraversion score for a user population. The dimension of extraversion has been associated with activity, sociability, risk-taking behaviour and impulsivity. All these characteristics seemed to contribute to drug-abusing behaviour and participation in a drug-taking group. Mean scores on the neuroticism and lie scale did not distinguish users from nonusers. On reviewing earlier studies [ 11] , [ 13] , [ 14] , [ 15] [ 16] , [ 17] , [ 18] , [ 19] , [ 20] no consistent pattern emerged as far as the relationship between neuroticism and drug abuse was concerned. The score patterns on the lie scale indicate that deliberate faking, or response in terms of an ideal-self concept, was not significantly different as between users and non-users.

Among MPQ variables, anxiety, psychopathic deviate and total psychopathology scores showed significant differences between users and non-users. Earlier studies which used MMPI or MPQ [ 11] , [ 21] , [ 22] , [ 23] , [ 24] , [ 25] , [ 26] , [ 27] , [ 28] , [ 29] , [ 30] , [ 31] , [ 32] on drug abuse of various types reported diverse score profiles. However, most of them found a higher number of abnormal profiles among users, in particular with an elevation on the psychopathic deviate scale. Relative risk associated with higher anxiety scores was 1.67 for current use and 1.40 for life-time use. Findings on the anxiety scale were not similar to the neuroticism scale of EPI in the present study. This, in part, could be explained by the difference in the nature of these scales. While the anxiety scale is empirically constructed from items distinguishing anxiety neurotics from normal controls, the neuroticism scale is a factor analysis-based dimensional scale measuring anxiety traits with experimental neurophysiological validation. From the anxiety scale findings, one might hypothesize a relationship between drug abuse and a high-strung nature with low self-esteem.

Relative risk associated with a high score on the psychopathic deviate scale was 1.93 for current use and 1.78 for life-time use. This suggested that drug abuse could be taken as a form of deviant behaviour. In the current state of knowledge, the relative magnitude of environmental, genetic and existential factors in the causation of deviant behaviour is not quite clear.

Relative risk to drug abuse associated with a high total psychopathology score on MPQ was 1.70 for current use and 1.35 for life-time use. This was consistent with the findings of various investigators indicating a higher percentage of abnormal MMPI profiles in people indulging in drug abuse. Tile absence of significant differences oil tile K scale has similar implications as suggested for the EPI lie scale.

The variables in descending order of magnitude of relative risk were extraversion, psychopathic deviate, orientation to drug use, total psychopathology and anxiety. In the case of all these variables, relative risk of lifetime use was less than that of current use. This suggests the role of these variables not only in initiating drug abuse but also in maintaining it. Test-retest reliability at a three-month interval has been expressed in terms of correlation co-efficient which is significant in the case of all scales except the hysteria scale of MPQ.

The association discussed above could be of use at all levels of prevention, for example, providing alternative activities (physical, recreational, social) for extraverted students. These activities would hopefully prevent extraverted non-users from experimenting with drugs, help extraverted users abstain from their use and prevent extraverted past users from returning to drug Use. The anxiety-prone could be helped by counselling services while deviants could be helped by corrective education.

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