Categoricity in Self-Estimation and Estimation of Other People and Situations in High School Students Involved in Drug Use
Introduction. Mechanisms and factors for psychoactive substance dependence and also psychological methods for its treatment and prevention have been widely researched. However, early diagnostics and prevention of psychoactive substance dependence among schoolchildren remain important today. The paper presents the results of the study of (a) categoricity in self-estimation and estimation of other people and situations in adolescents using drugs and (b) its relationship with other psychological risk factors for involvement in drug use. Categorical answers indicate the way of thinking when a person makes conclusions before considering all the possible alternatives. Such a way of thinking derives from difficulties in voluntary regulation with insufficient regard for possible solutions and future prospects. The present study is the first attempt to reveal associations among categoricity and psychological risk factors for involvement in drug use.
Methods. The participants comprised 108 high school students using drugs, 637 high school students from various regions of Russia, and 540 middle school students. A methodical complex of psychological diagnostics of risk factors for adolescent involvement in drug use was employed in the study.
Results. High school students’ categorical estimates indicated the risk of drug use and were associated with difficulties in voluntary regulation with unwillingness to plan the future and consider the alternatives in the clinical group. A defensive strategy of answers manifested itself in the association among categoricalness, overestimation of voluntary self-regulation, and denial of problems. On the contrary, the association between categoricity and accepting difficulties characterized an open strategy of answers when using drugs. High school students in the control groups had no such associations.
Discussion. Categorical answers can be a nonspecific criterion for assessing the risk of drug involvement among high school students.
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