Title

Anxiety Symptoms and Coping Motives: Examining a Potential Path to Substance Use-Related Problems In Adolescents With Psychopathic Traits

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-2016

School

Psychology

Abstract

Background: Although the relation between impulsive-irresponsible psychopathic traits and substance use is well-documented, the path to developing substance use problems is less understood in adolescents with these characteristics.

Objectives: To examine the associations between psychopathy, anxiety, and substance use motives and a mechanism by which anxiety and alcohol and marijuana coping motives mediate the relation between psychopathic traits and substance use-related problems. Methods: A sample of 185 at-risk adolescent males from a residential military-style program reporting past alcohol or marijuana use (M age = 16.74) participated in the study.

Results: Impulsive-Irresponsible psychopathic traits were uniquely and incrementally predictive of alcohol and marijuana use-related problems and anxiety. Anxiety and coping motives appeared to partially explain the association between impulsivity-irresponsibility and substance use-related problems.

Conclusions/Importance: Findings suggest that youth expressing impulsive-irresponsible psychopathic traits may engage in problematic substance use at least partly as a function of heightened anxiety and a subsequent desire to alleviate distress by using alcohol or marijuana to cope.

Publication Title

Substance Use & Misuse

Volume

51

Issue

14

First Page

1920

Last Page

1929

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