Alcohol use and problem severity: associations with dual systems of self-control.
To assess the severity of substance use, abuse and dependence in a community sample of high school students, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in a suburban New Jersey community. Participants, a sample of 9th to 12th graders from six high schools (N=1044), completed a self-administered questionnaire after obtaining active parental consent. The measure of substance use disorders was based on 27 specially designed questions that approximate the DSM-IV criteria for abuse and dependence. Equivalent multivariate logit models were used to estimate the significant correlates for both use and dependence/abuse. The prevalence of drug use in this sample was similar to the national average for all drugs except alcohol. A total of 16.4% of the surveyed students reported either abuse or dependence symptoms with alcohol in the past year. The rates of abuse/dependence for marijuana and other illicit drugs were 13.4% and 3.9%. The rate of nicotine dependence was 8.0%. The logit models designed to examine the correlates of substance use showed minimal predictive or correlative value in explaining substance abuse or dependence in adolescence. More research is needed to identify and understand the factors leading adolescents from drug use to abuse or dependence.