U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

American Indian Adolescent Inhalant Use

NCJ Number
American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Dated: 1997 Pages: 24-40
Pamela J. Thurman Ph.D.; Vicki A. Green Ph.D.
Date Published
17 pages
This study tested the hypothesis that cognitive ability, cognitive egocentrism, and decisionmaking variables would be significant predictors of inhalant use among 87 American Indians (ages 10-18) living in an Indian boarding home located in a rural area of the southwestern United States.
The study found that 48 of the participants were minimal or experimental users of inhalants, and 39 were nonusers. For males only, the findings support the hypothesis that cognitive capacity and cognitive egocentrism may be important in the prediction of inhalants use. When questioned about reasons why they had used inhalants, peer encouragement to use inhalants was mentioned most often. Family problems were also frequently mentioned. For both males and females, the findings indicated that adherence to traditional tribal culture was an important factor in predicting nonuse of inhalants. Suggestions are offered for future research. The 87 subjects were divided into 4 groups: male inhalants users (25); male nonusers (25); female inhalants users (14); and female nonusers (23). Placement into the user group was based on identification by the boarding home counselor based on the student having been caught in at least one sniffing incident on residential grounds. These subjects also identified themselves as users on the inhalant-use behavioral measure. No chronic abusers and polydrug users lived at the home, since such individuals were referred to treatment centers. All participants were administered a demographic questionnaire, an inhalant-use questionnaire, various measures of adolescent reasoning (cognitive measures), and the Imaginary Audience Scale. The latter measured cognitive egocentrism (tendency to avoid potentially embarrassing situations as perceived by the youth). The Applied Dilemmas task (Lewis, 1981) measured decisionmaking abilities. 43 references and 3 notes