The Role of Personality, Family Influences, and Prosocial Risk-Taking Behaviour on Substance use in early Adolescence
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This research contributes to contemporary thinking regarding the nature of impulsivity and its influence on substance use in early adolescence. The current study examined whether engagement in prosocial risk-taking activities served as mediators between the more distal factors of personality and family environment, and substance use, in a large cohort of Grade 8 students (N = 969). This is the first study to examine the relationship between these variables using a contemporary two-factor conceptualisation (reward drive and rash impulsiveness) of a personality characterised by impulsivity. The role of family environment was also directly modelled as this has often been identified as a key feature in the likelihood of substance use initiation in young people. Using structural equation modelling (SEM), the results of this research provide strong support for a two-factor model of impulsivity and the differential influences of rash impulsiveness and reward drive on prosocial risk-taking behaviours and substance use. As expected, rash impulsiveness was found to convey direct risk for substance use for males and females. An interesting finding was that rash impulsiveness did not convey any influence on participation in physical-risk activities, however had a strong negative association with performance-risk activities and prosocial behaviour more broadly. Although reward drive did not convey direct risk for substance use, this facet of impulsivity was found to be strongly and directly associated with engagement in physical- and performance-risk activities as well as prosocial behaviour more broadly. Participation in physical-risk activities was associated with greater substance use. These results suggest that reward drive has had an indirect influence on substance use through participation in physical risk-activities. Finally, turning to the role of family influences, family environment did not convey any significant direct influence on substance use, however, may have an indirect influence through the association with rash impulsiveness and reward drive. The data suggest that a positive family environment was associated with greater prosocial behaviour, but not with participation in physical- and performance-risk activities. No significant gender differences in the hypothesised model were found. For males and females, the hypothesised model accounted for 16% (CI95: .09 - .21) and 21% (CI95: .12 - .28) of the variance in substance use, respectively.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD ClinPsych)
School of Psychology
Item Access Status
Pages 184 - 186 have been removed under copyright conditions.
Teenagers substance use.
Risk-taking (Psychology) in adolescence