Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Youth With Conduct Disorder More Likely to Abuse Substances

A longitudinal study of youth with and without conduct disorder (CD) finds that the former are significantly more likely to abuse substances. The findings are published in the May Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Researchers from the University of Colorado prospectively followed 1,165 community-dwelling adolescents without CD, 194 youth in the community with CD, and 268 youth who were in treatment for CD. They were re-interviewed during young adulthood, and self-reports on age of substance initiation for 10 substance classes were analyzed.

The researchers found that among community-dwelling subjects, CD was associated with elevated risk for initiation of use of all substances, with comparatively greater hazard ratios of initiating illicit substances at age 15. By age 18, the hazard ratios remained significant except for alcohol. At age 21, the hazard ratios were significant only for cocaine, amphetamines, inhalants, and "club" drugs. A substantial portion of community subjects without conduct disorder never initiated illicit substance use. “CD confers increased risk for substance use initiation across all substance classes at age 15 years, with greater relative risk for illicit substances compared to licit substances,” the researchers said. “This effect continues until age 18 years, with the weakest effect for alcohol.”

An abstract of the JAACAP article is here. For more information on conduct disorder, see Psychiatric News here.

(artem furman/


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