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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 665-669

Psychosocial dysfunction among adolescents who abuse substances in secondary schools in Abakaliki, Nigeria

1 Pediatrician Department of Pediatrics, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria
2 Paediatrician Neurology Unit, Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria/University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozala, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
O U Anyanwu
Department of Pediatrics, Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1119-3077.208953

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Background: Substance abuse has been associated with psychosocial dysfunction from previous reports; however, the prevalence and pattern of such morbidity is unknown in our environment. Aims: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and pattern of psychosocial dysfunction among adolescents who abuse substance. Methods: A case-control study was carried out among adolescents selected from five secondary schools in Abakaliki. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select the students and the World Health Organization student drug use questionnaire was used to screen respondents for substance abuse. Substance abusers and matched controls (non substance abusers) were assessed for psychosocial dysfunction using the 35-item Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC). Socioeconomic classification was done using the parental educational attainment and occupation. Results: Two hundred and four students were abusers of one or more substances. The mean PSC score for substance abusers was 21.96 ± 10.77 whereas that for controls was 16.07 ± 8.69 (t = –6.74, P = 0.000). Eighty-nine individuals (43.7%) and 28 controls (13.9%) had PSC scores in the morbidity range of ≥ 28 for psychosocial dysfunction. This was statistically significant (χ2 = 13.57, P = 0.001). Prevalence of dysfunction was significantly associated with age group, gender, and socioeconomic class in both participants and controls. The prevalence of dysfunction was significantly higher in multiple abusers than the single abusers. Conclusion: The prevalence of psychosocial dysfunction is higher in adolescents abusing substance than in controls. Psychosocial dysfunction was however not related to age, gender, or social classes in the study population but was related to the abuse of multiple substances.

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