Undetected substance abuse and dependence among juvenile offenders in a diversion program
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe harmful effects of substance abuse among adolescents and its close association with juvenile crime and recidivism have been well documented. While a legal referral to the juvenile court may prompt an assessment of substance abuse or dependence, juvenile court diversion personnel must often rely only on an informal interview to determine the presence or severity of a juvenile's substance abuse problem. This may result in a failure to detect underlying substance abuse problems and to initiate appropriate treatment. The present study explored whether or not a standardized instrument, the Adolescent Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI-A2) might improve identification of substance abuse problems in juvenile offenders who had been referred to one of two early intervention classes (a Misdemeanor class or a Substance Abuse class). Fifty-four percent of the sample met the criteria for a high probability of either a Substance Abuse Disorder or a Substance Dependence Disorder as measured by the SASSI-A2. Nearly twenty-six percent (25.9%) of juveniles in the Misdemeanor class and 35.7% of the juveniles in the Substance Abuse class met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. Nearly fifteen percent (14.7%) of juveniles in the Misdemeanor class and 33.3% in the Substance Abuse class met criteria for a Substance Dependence Disorder. These findings suggest that the use of the standardized test was significantly better at detecting substance abuse problems among juvenile offenders in diversion than a standard informal interview-only.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Special Education, Rehabilitation and School Psychology