A cognitive behavioural intervention for problematic substance use in adolescence : a pilot study : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
Experimentation with substance use in adolescence is common, yet there is often concern when it appears to become more than experimentation. New Zealand youth, in particular, have some of the highest rates of substance abuse in the Western world. The main goal of this study was to determine if a brief manualised integration of cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing for adolescents was effective in reducing the harm caused by problematic substance use. The aim of the intervention was to reduce current and future difficulties with AOD use for adolescents. Four individual case studies and within subject comparisons were used to measure the effectiveness of this intervention in an educational setting. A battery of psychometric measures were used, including a structured diagnostic interview. Results indicated improvements in motivation and coping skills, and some short term reduction in substance use. Research issues are discussed, including the applicability of the DSM-IV criteria for substance use disorders in adolescence, and our understanding of 'risk'. The current study highlights the need for adolescent substance use interventions to be holistic and systemic in nature to successfully reduce substance related harm. The limitations of the current study are also discussed.