Incarcerated adolescents' attributions for drug and alcohol use

James R. McKay, Ronald T. Murphy, James McGuire, Timothy R. Rivinus, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Incarcerated adolescents' attributions for drug use were investigated. A new 50-item questionnaire, the Inventory of Drug Taking Situations (IDTS), was used to assess reasons for use. The IDTS yields eight subscales corresponding to risky situations identified by Marlatt and others. On the IDTS, subjects indicate how frequently they used their drug of choice when confronted with each risky situation. The IDTS scales had good internal consistency and higher scores were significantly associated with self-reports of drug use frequency. Furthermore, IDTS scores were most valid for the type of drug the measure was filled out about. Adolescents reported that they tended to use more frequently in response to positive and/or interpersonal experiences, as opposed to negative and/or internal ones. Positive, negative, interpersonal, and internal reasons for use were all equally correlated with frequency of use. In the most heavily drug-involved adolescents, however, negative reasons were more highly correlated with frequency of use than positive reasons. Treatment implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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