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Recent Studies Find Factors that Improve Outcomes for Teens Struggling with Substance Abuse

Posted on December 7, 2011

Photo by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget

Two recently published studies, one conducted at Case Western Reserve University, show how certain factors can improve outcomes for adolescents struggling with substance abuse. The first study, co-authored by Dr. Maria Pagano of the School of Medicine and published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that helping others and lifetime participation in religious activities can improve treatment outcomes for adolescents in a 12-step substance abuse treatment program.

Another study by researchers from the University of Missouri found that rural adolescents who are engaged in their community through volunteering and helping others are less likely to engage in risky behavior, such as using drugs or alcohol, as young adults. The study focused on adolescents from rural communities, as previous research indicated that they are at a higher risk than urban youth for using illicit substances due to fewer opportunities for healthy recreational activities. The authors note the importance of these findings given that the recent economic crisis may reduce entertainment options and increase early transition to adulthood, both increasing risk for substance use.

Several Schubert Center Faculty Associates study substance abuse among adolescents. Dr. Scott Frank studies both substance abuse and the role of religion in medicine. Dr. Jeff Kretschmar researches substance abuse through the Dr. Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Center for Violence Prevention and Research at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS). Dr. Mark Singer is Co-Director of MSASS’s Center on Substance Abuse and Mental Illness.

Read the study from Case, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Read a Health.com article on the study from Case, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Read the study from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Read a Science Daily article on the article from the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Page last modified: March 21, 2014