Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Monograph

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Supervisor

Elton-Marshall, Tara

Affiliation

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

2nd Supervisor

Wells, Samantha

Affiliation

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Co-Supervisor

Abstract

Behavioural addictions among adolescents are becoming a growing public health concern. It is well established that problem behaviours, particularly substance use behaviours, tend to cluster together. Some research indicates that gambling is associated with substance use, aligning with Problem Behaviour Theory, which suggests that problem behaviours stem from an underlying disposition toward deviance. This study sought to assess whether a) behavioural addictions, including gambling, video gaming and technology use, cluster together and with substance use and b) profiles of problem behaviours are associated with age, race, socioeconomic status, grade achievement, school connectedness, and antisocial behaviour in the total sample and by sex. Participants included 3,631 secondary students from the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. Latent profile analysis revealed four distinct profiles overall and three profiles in both males and females. Behavioural addictions did not cluster with substance use. This study highlights important patterns in adolescent emerging problem behaviours.

Summary for Lay Audience

Behavioural addictions (such as gambling, technology use, and video game playing) among adolescents are becoming a growing public health concern. It is well established that problem behaviours, behaviours deemed socially unacceptable, particularly substance use behaviours, tend to cluster together. Moreover, research indicates that gambling is associated with substance use(Dickson et al, 2002), aligning with Problem Behaviour Theory developed by Jessor & Jessor (1977), which suggests that multiple problem behaviours stem from a unified disposition toward deviance. This study sought to assess whether a) behavioural addictions, including gambling, video gaming and technology use, cluster together and also whether they cluster with substance use and b) profiles of problem behaviours are associated with age, race, socioeconomic status, grade achievement, school connectedness, and antisocial behaviour in the total sample and by sex. Participants included 3,631 secondary students from the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. Latent profile analysis, a method used to organize individuals into homogeneous subgroups based on their response patterns, revealed four distinct profiles overall, including “No Problems”, “Dabblers”, “Serious Dabblers” and “Drug Problems.” However, three profiles were identified in the male (i.e., “No Problems”, “Dabblers” and “Drug Problems”) and female samples (i.e., “No Problems”, “Dabblers” and “Drug Problems”). Behavioural addictions did not cluster with substance use, with such addictions found equally across all subgroups. Older age, White race, lower academic achievement, and antisocial behaviour were found to be associated with profile membership in the total and female sample. Male sex was found to be associated with profile membership in the total sample.

The findings in this study support previous literature that substance use problems cluster together. Furthermore, the results support the need for development of health services for addressing these multiple problem behaviours.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

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