Northwestern University Study Finds Gender Differences in Substance Abuse Among Delinquent Teenagers

Northwestern UniversityA new study led by researchers at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University in Chicago studied the drug and alcohol use of teenagers who had been held in juvenile detention centers. The study followed these youths for 12 years.

The study followed 1,829 youths randomly sampled from detention facilities in Chicago, Illinois, starting in 1995 through 1998. The subjects were interviewed up to nine times through 2011. The study found that by the age of 28, 91.3 percent of the male subjects had some type of substance use disorder. For women, 78.5 percent had developed a substance use disorder. Men were more likely to have abused alcohol and marijuana. Women were more likely than men to have a substance use disorder related to cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and sedatives.

wealtyLeah J. Welty, ann associate professor of preventive medicine and psychiatry at the Feinberg School said that “unfortunately, substance use disorders were the rule, not the exception. These young adults already face substantial challenges in completing education, establishing careers and building families. Substance abuse further compromises their futures.”

The study, “Health Disparities in Drug- and Alcohol-Use Disorders: A 12-Year Longitudinal Study of Youths After Detention,” was published on the website of the American Journal of Public Health. It may by accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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