Substance use among youths: roles of psychoticism, social alienation, thriving and religious commitment
The rising levels of drug abuse among youths in the world require evidence-based, cost effective and research-informed intervention strategies. These strategies will need to be formulated around observed socio-demographic and psychosocial characteristics of youths who abuse drugs. This paper presents reports of two studies which investigated the roles of psychoticism, social alienation, religious commitment, and thriving in drug abuse among secondary school students (n = 293, 53% males) and undergraduates (n = 300, 76% males) students in southeastern Nigeria. The emerging psychoactive substances of abuse among the students were also explored. Participants completed measures of the relevant variables and provided their demographic information. Psychoticism and social alienation were positively significant predictors of substance abuse among secondary school students, while thriving and religious commitment were negatively significant predictors of substance abuse among university undergraduates. It was suggested that psychological factors such as psychoticism, social alienation, thriving and religious commitment be considered in drug use policies and intervention programmes for young persons in Nigeria.
Keywords: adolescents, drug abuse, intervention, prevention, psychoticism, thriving