The Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse Among Adolescents 
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Highlights

This report presents an examination of the association between psychological functioning and substance use among adolescents aged 12 to 17 using data from the 1994-1996 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA). The survey, conducted annually by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provides estimates of the prevalence of use of a variety of illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, based on a nationally representative sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. In addition, the 1994-1996 surveys include mental health data not previously available. In 1994, the NHSDA added the Youth Self-Report (Achenbach, 1991), a comprehensive mental health checklist that has been used extensively in studies of adolescents. The instrument generates summary measures of emotional and behavioral problems, as well as measures for specific syndromes, including depression, anxiety, withdrawal, somatic complaints, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, delinquent behavior, and aggressive behavior. Selected findings are given below.
Emotional and Behavioral Problems Illicit Drug Use

In 1994-1996, nine percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported past month use of illicit drugs. Seven percent reported past-month use of marijuana. Four percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported past-month use of illicit drugs other than marijuana. Rates of illicit drug use were highest among older adolescents aged 16 to 17; 17 percent of males and 13 percent of females reported past-month use.

Alcohol Use

In 1994-1996, 20 percent of adolescents aged 12 to 17 reported using alcohol in the past month. Rates of past-month alcohol use were highest among older adolescents aged 16 to 17; 36 percent of males and 31 percent of females reported past month use.

Cigarette Use

In 1994-1996, 19 percent of adolescents 12 to 17 reported smoking cigarettes in the past month. Rates were highest among older adolescents aged 16 to 17; 31 percent of males and 27 percent of females reported past month cigarette smoking.

Alcohol or Illicit Drug Dependence Using the Youth Self-Report (YSR) to Identify Substance Users

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This page was last updated on August 05, 2008.