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Multivariate Comparison of Male and Female Adolescent Substance Abusers with Accompanying Legal Problems

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 39 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2011 Pages: 207-211
Ralph E. Tarter; Levent Kirisci; Ada Mezzich; David Patton
Date Published
June 2011
5 pages
This study investigated factors that affect the experiences and situations of male and female substance abusers with and without legal problems.
The study found that while legal problems were more frequent among juvenile male substance abusers, the severity of the legal and behavioral problems was greater for juvenile female substance abusers in 9 out of the 10 scales measured in the study. The findings indicate that both substance abusing juvenile males and females with legal problems had greater degrees of severe behavior, substance abuse, family adjustment issues, and peer relationship problems than substance abusing peers without legal problems. In addition, the findings indicate that for substance abusing juvenile males only, the quality of peer relationships mediated the association of family dysfunction, substance abuse, and behavior problems with legal problems. This study investigated the factors that affect the experiences and situations of juvenile male and female substance abusers with and without legal problems. Data for the study were obtained from 4,071 youths admitted for substance abuse treatment that were administered the revised Drug Use Screening Inventory (DUSI-R) to measure the severity of their health, behavior, and social adjustment problems. The study findings indicate that both gender and legal status play an important role in the potential treatment prognosis of substance abusing youth. Study limitations are discussed. Figures, tables, and references