The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

4094.0: Tuesday, November 12, 2002 - Board 3

Abstract #44078

Empirically-derived subtypes of adolescents with cannabis use disorders

Jane A Ungemack, DrPH1, Thomas F. Babor, PhD, MPH2, Joseph A. Burleson, PhD1, and Michael Dennis, PhD3. (1) Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 270 Farmington Avenue, Suite 260, MC 6325, Farmington, CT 06030-6325, (860) 679-5403,, (2) Dept of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-6325, (3) Chestnut Health Systems, 720 West Chestnut, Bloomington, IL 61701

Studies of adult substance abusers show that they can be reliably classified into subtypes based on various one-dimensional indicators of vulnerability and risk, such as early vs. late onset. Data from 600 adolescent marijuana abusers participating in the Cannabis Youth Treatment Study were analyzed to identify multidimensional empirical subtypes consistent with addiction theory and clinical practice needs. Using empirical clustering techniques, we identified two subtypes of marijuana abusing adolescents. The Type B subtype was characterized by early onset, family history of substance abuse, difficult temperament, externalizing disorders, and internalizing disorders, whereas the Type A subtype manifested later onset, less family history, and fewer problems in the areas of personality, temperament and psychopathology. A second set of analyses evaluated concurrent and predictive validity of the subtypes. Type B adolescents, characterized by high risk and vulnerability factors, manifested more severe marijuana dependence and substance-related problems, and less positive treatment outcomes. Treatment providers and researchers would benefit from an empirically-derived subtyping scheme that allows them to classify adolescent substance users into groups based on pre-morbid indicators of vulnerability and risk. This classification scheme would allow them to anticipate prognosis, tailor treatment interventions and allocate appropriate resources. To the extent that the subtypes have implications for specific types and intensities of treatment, the classification may be used for treatment matching.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescents, Treatment

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.

Etiology and Prevention of Substance Abuse among Youth Poster Session

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA