Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice: A Pragmatic Guide

By Michel Hersen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 16

Substance-Use Disorders

Kenneth C. Winters
Michael D. Newcomb
Tamara Fahnhorst


□ Description of the Problem

Adolescent alcohol and other drug (AOD) use continue to be a significant public health concern for this country. Extensive social and economic ramifications are evident as a direct result of adolescent substance abuse including increased legal issues, educational problems, and risky sexual behavior (Children's Defense Fund, 1991; Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman, 1992; Newcomb & Bentler, 1988). Since 1992, AOD use among adolescents has increased in America despite reduction or stabilization in use of some drugs (Johnston, O'Malley, & Bachman, 2003). In fact, drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and less frequently, smoking marijuana in a social context is quite typical (Clark, Kirisci, & Moss, 1998; Kandel, 1975; Yamaguchi & Kandel, 1984), and may be part of the "normal developmental trajectory for adolescents" (Shedler & Block, 1990). Unfortunately, use of AOD goes beyond experimentation and evolves into a debilitating disorder of abuse or dependence for a number of adolescents. Accurate assessment of adolescent substance use is, therefore, a key to understanding prevalence of this serious problem, and is beneficial in providing communities, researchers, and clinicians the knowledge and tools necessary for effective prevention and intervention initiatives. The following chapter will present an overview of adolescent AOD use and abuse rates in this country, address complexities

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