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Adolescent psychological health problems and delinquency among volatile substance users in a school sample in south London

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

D Best, V Manning, M Gossop, J Witton, K Floyd, S Rawaf, J Strang

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473 - 482
Number of pages10
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Issue number6
PublishedDec 2004

King's Authors


The study assessed prevalence of volatile substance abuse (VSA), and its link to other forms of psychoactive substance use and to other problem behaviours among 14-15 year olds recruited from sixteen secondary schools in south-west London. Lifetime use of volatile substances was reported by 126 young people (6% of the sample) whose mean age of first use was 12.6 years. Using logistic regression analysis, lifetime use of volatile substances was found to be associated with more frequent cigarette smoking and more frequent drinking in the previous month, with higher levels of anxiety, greater involvement in delinquent acts, and lower levels of educational aspirations. Among volatile substance abusers, more frequent use was associated with higher levels of psychological distress and greater delinquent activity. Volatile substance abuse may be a marker for other forms of substance use and for other behaviour problems. This issue remains inadequately explored by researchers and clinicians.

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