Intervening processes between adolescent drug use and psychological distress: An examination of the self-medication hypothesis

Kelly R. Damphousse1, Howard B. Kaplan1
1University of Oklahoma, United States
Cite this article:  Damphousse, K. R., & Kaplan, H. B. (1998). Intervening processes between adolescent drug use and psychological distress: An examination of the self-medication hypothesis. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 26(2), 115-130.

Volume 26 Issue 2 | e915 | Published: May 1998 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1998.26.2.115

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The self-medication hypothesis suggests that individuals who experience high levels of psychological distress use drugs to relieve their pain. The extent to which this is the case (and to which people do feel better after using drugs) has had mixed support in the literature. In the present analysis we used structural equation modeling of longitudinal data to explore how deviant disposition, deviant peers, and negative life events act as intervening variables in the hypothesized relationship between psychological distress and adolescent drug use. The results suggest that deviant disposition and association with deviant peers mediate the relationship between antecedent psychological distress and later drug use. Similarly, negative life events mediate the relationship between adolescent drug use and adult psychological distress.


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