War on Drugs Among Teens

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In 2003, Danielson, Overholser, and Butt undertook a study on the larger discipline of teenage depression and the use of drugs. The study was aimed at evaluating whether or not levels of depression differ in the adolescents who had shown attempts to commit suicide and those who had not as influenced by their use of alcohol. From the clinical perspectives, the researchers appreciated that alcohol use among adolescents could significantly influence levels of depression. The higher the level of alcohol use among the teenagers, the higher the rates of depression recorded.

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As the study would point out, it was important for the adolescents who abused alcohol be monitored for depression and be empowered through appropriate skills by which to cope from depression. Again, high risks of suicidal thoughts among the depressed adolescents who also showed a rise in the rate of abuse of alcohol necessitated the study by Danielson, Overholser, and Butt.

In conceptualizing suicidal thoughts among the adolescents, there was a gap in literature meant to identify the association of depression for the drug users and suicide. The researchers were concerned with identifying the role of drug abuse in influencing the depression levels among the teenagers. The study was therefore designed to test whether those adolescents who recorded higher use of drugs suffered more depressive conditions than their counterparts who were not drug and substance users. However, it is worth appreciating that all the participants in the study were to be individuals who had recorded suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Therefore as a major purpose, the study was designed to investigate the impacts of substance abuse on the depression levels of populations of adolescents who had contemplated to commit suicide. The other purpose of the study by Danielson, Overholser, and Butt was to compare the levels of depression in the adolescent in-patients who were non-suicidal and who also did not abuse alcohol.

In order for the study to produce the desired outcomes, the researchers embraced an empirical methodology. A sample of 98 participants was recruited from a large population of adolescents in a psychiatric hospital in a large metropolitan area. The subjects were aged between thirteen and eighteen years with the girls being the majority. While the girls were 53, the total population had the higher majority being the whites who were 85 in number. Again, among the subjects, 67 of them had been hospitalized for attempted suicide and 31 among them had been admitted for severe depression among other psychiatric problems. For those who had incidences of attempted murder, different methods of self-harm were recorded such as taking poisonous substances, hanging, use of a gun and such other extreme actions meant to cause death.

In the experimental study methodologies, alcohol use and depression among the subjects were used as independent variables while suicidal tendencies were conceptualized as the dependent variable. The study used deferent measures to highlight the problem of drug use and depression levels. First, depression was evaluated through the Childrens Depression Inventory or the CDI. The indicator would work by highlighting the persistent type of mood for each of the subjects over a period of two weeks. High scores in the scale were interpreted to signify increased levels of depression. On the other hand, to test the difficulties with alcohol, the researchers subjected the participants to the Rutgers Alcohol Problem Index famously known as the RAPI. For the subjects who scored higher in the scale, then the researches interpreted it to imply higher problems with the use of alcohol. It was therefore from the scores that the subjects were correctly grouped into heavy or light drinkers. Those individuals who did not record any use of alcohol were regarded as non-drinkers. A cut-off mark of 15 in the score guide for the RAPI index was used to point the side of either the heavy or light drinkers.

The study established that the heavy drinkers were particularly more likely to be depressed than the light and non-drinkers. The finding was unanimous irrespective of the suicide-attempting tendencies. Therefore, as a general observation, the researchers illustrated a positive association of depression levels with the increased use of alcohol among the teenagers involved in the study. Again, the higher the depression levels, the more likely the adolescents would record attempted suicide rates. Overall, therefore, the study contributed significantly to the discourse of teenage depression and the abuse of drugs by showing that the adolescents who abused alcohol could record higher levels of depression. Suicidal thoughts were the eventual outcome of increased depressive conditions among the teens who abused alcohol.

As noted by the researchers, the findings were consistent with others from previous studies and which had identified a positive relation between substance abuse among people and the levels of depression recorded. In particular, the adolescent psychiatric patients in the hospital and who abused such substances as alcohol has a higher chance of being depressed than the others who did not indulge in the use of drugs. It was, however, important to point out that in some cases, the adolescents had resulted in the abuse of the drug as a coping mechanism for other distressing issues.

Study Critique

From a subjective position, the study by Danielson, Overholser, and Butt was well formulated and planned to ensure that the results established could not be biased in the way of data collection and interpretation. Again, the researchers embraced an effective experimental methodology where the statistical significance of the problems and findings could be used to guide the discourse in the application of the results.

The study was accurate in the way of selection of the study population as it used teens that suffered psychiatric conditions and were admitted in the hospital. Besides, the choice of the tools for data collection and analysis through the strategic scales were tactical as they were highly suited for the study. In the organization, a reader of the study could appreciate an effective flow of thoughts from the conceptualization of the problem, the identification of the gap in the literature and the justification of the importance of the particular study. It also clearly stated the objectives and the purposes of the study. At the end of the study, the researchers appreciated the contribution of the findings from their study into the larger discourse of how drug use and abuse among adolescents could influence the respective levels of depression.

They also pointed out the importance of future studies in the discipline to evaluate how other factors such as genetics and spirituality could explain depression among adolescents. Future studies would hence advance the knowledge in the field by showing how other factors, especially as influenced by the environment, genetics and the nurture process could explain such behavioral tendencies as suicide among subjects in a given group. The diversity in approach to the subject could hence uphold objectivity and guide the advancement of understanding of the phenomena of drug use, depression, and undesirable tendencies as suicide among such groups as the teens.

Nevertheless, in the organization, the researchers failed to highlight the study hypothesis which is often considered an important attribute in scientific studies. With a hypothesis, the researcher could postulate possible findings and hence enable the reader to appreciate the outcome in either support or opposition to the outlined hypothesis. In another aspect of weaknesses pointed out in the study, the researchers overlooked the importance of describing the method of selection of the participants from the larger group of adolescent inpatients in the hospital. One could hence be interested in understanding how the researchers selected the 98 teens who participated in the study. In the instance of failure to appreciate effective methods of sampling, the study could be accused on the grounds of bias as the researchers could have been influenced by subjectivity as against objectivity in the entire process of studying the phenomena. It would also be important that the study explains effective mechanisms embraced to overcome the outlined weaknesses and challenges that could have had the potential of influencing the objectivity of the study. Finally and most importantly, this critique points out the need for future studies to consider a higher sample representation of the subjects. Besides increasing the number from 98, one would also recommend balancing of gender, racial representation and such other factors which were largely ignored in the study by Danielson, Overholser, and Butt.  

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War on Drugs Among Teens. (2021, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/war-on-drugs-among-teens/