Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph LaVoie

Second Advisor

Dr. Shelton Hendricks

Third Advisor

Dr. Gwen Weber


The purpose of this study was to examine adolescent drug involvement in relation to a variety of psychological and social constructs. One hundred ninety-nine adolescent high school students and 67 adolescents receiving drug treatment served as subjects. A battery of questionnaires was administered to assess a participant’s: involvement with drugs (i.e., reported drug use index, intent to use drugs in the future, exposure to drugs, and level of drug use prior to abstinence); self-concept/self-esteem; social skills; and anxiety and depression levels. Degree of drug involvement, both within the student sample and between student and treatment samples, was related differentially to perceived psychological distress and perceived social competence. The measure most predictive of drug involvement in the student sample was the Social Avoidance and Distress Scale-suggesting that greater drug involvement is associated with greater levels of social anxiety. Additional analyses indicated that subjects less involved with drugs (i.e., abstinent and low-user student groups) tended to report less depression and anxiety and reported greater levels of self-concept/esteem and social competence (i.e., less social anxiety and less loneliness). The predictability of drug involvement by respondents was most accurate when all psychosocial measures, combined with selected sociodemographic variables were used.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Psychology and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Earl H. Faulkner August, 1989.

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