The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4312.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - 9:42 PM

Abstract #41343

Well-functioning high school students' denial of addiction: Appearances may deceive

Jean-Francois Riand, MA and Sandra L Putnam, PhD. Community Health Research Group, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Suite 309, Conference Center Bldg, Knoxville, TN 37996-4133, 865.974.4511,

Both the literature and practitioners agree that admission of dependence on or addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs (AOD) is an essential step towards treatment and recovery. The goal of this study is to identify, among young AOD users (n=22,547), the factors differentiating those who define themselves as addicted (18%) compared to those who do not. Data are from a cross-sectional survey of approximately 58,000 high school students in 108 randomly selected Tennessee public and private schools in 12 Tennessee health department regions in 1995. Using the subsample of declared AOD users and controlling for a set of relevant variables (sociodemographic characteristics, frequency of AOD use, previous AOD treatment, negative consequences of AOD use, parental guidance, attitude to and performance in school, leisure time activities), a set of logistic regressions isolates the factors linked to denial of addiction. Results show that for the same levels of consumption, students with close parental guidance, high gpa’s and good attitudes to school, who have not received AOD treatment or have not suffered negative consequences from their consumption are more likely to be in denial of dependence or addiction. Authors will discuss the results in terms of AOD screening for high school age students, especially reaching seemingly well-functioning students who may be AOD-dependent but would not raise concern with their behavior or poor school performance. Stereotyping AOD users as “bad kids” and targeting them for prevention programs misses many youth who are functioning at relatively high levels but are dependent on AOD.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Students, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Young Injection Drug Users

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA