Diversity in Reported Motivations for Substance Use as a Function of Ego-Identity Development

  • Christopherson B
  • Jones R
  • Sales A
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Examined adolescent drug use motivations from the perspective of J. E. Marcia"s (see record 1966-07584-001) operationalization of Erikson"s psychosocial theory of human development. Data from 1,691 students in Grades 7-12 reveal that reported motivations were significantly different across all 4 ego-identity stages (achievement, moratorium, foreclosure, and diffusion). Ss classified as either achieved or moratorium were more likely to cite curiosity and recreation as motivations for substance use. Diffused Ss were likely to cite fear of parents finding out and fear of arrest as reasons for not trying alcohol; and achieved and moratorium Ss were not interested or expressed health concerns. It is concluded that adolescents use psychoactive substances for reasons that vary according to identity status (psychosocial maturity). The need for tailoring prevention efforts to developmental differences is highlighted. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Bryan B. Christopherson

  • Randall M. Jones

  • Amos P. Sales

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