Personal network characteristics of youth in substance use treatment: Motivation for and perceived difficulty of positive network change

Tammy Chung, Lauren Sealy, Margaret Abraham, Cynthia Ruglovsky, Jacqueline Schall, Stephen A. Maisto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Among youth in substance use treatment, peer substance use consistently predicts worse treatment outcomes. This study characterized personal (egocentric) networks of treated youth and examined predictors of adolescents motivation and perceived difficulty in making changes in the peer network to support recovery. Methods: Adolescents (aged 14-18; N = 155) recruited from substance use treatment reported on substance use severity, motivation to abstain from substance use, abstinence goals such as "temporary abstinence," motivation and perceived difficulty in reducing contact with substance-using peers, and personal network characteristics. Personal network variables included composition (proportion of abstinent peers) and structure (number of network members, extent of ties among members) for household and nonhousehold (peer) members. Results: Although a majority of peer network members were perceived as using alcohol or marijuana, youth in treatment had relatively high motivation to abstain from substance use. However, treated youths motivation to reduce contact with substance-using peers was relatively low. In particular, a goal of temporary abstinence was associated with lower motivation to change the peer network. For marijuana, specifically, network composition features (proportion of abstinent peers) were associated with motivation and perceived difficulty to change the peer network. For marijuana, in particular, network structural variables (extent of ties among members) were associated only with perceived difficulty of changing the peer network. Conclusions: Despite high motivation to abstain from substance use during treatment, adolescents reported low motivation to reduce contact with substance-using peers. Personal motivation to abstain and abstinence goal predicted motivation to reduce contact with substance-using peers. In contrast, particularly for marijuana, network structure predicted perceived difficulty of network change. Results highlight the potential utility of addressing motivation and perceived difficulty to change the peer network as part of youth network-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-388
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Abuse
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • alcohol
  • marijuana
  • social network
  • substance use treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Personal network characteristics of youth in substance use treatment: Motivation for and perceived difficulty of positive network change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this