Advertisement

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 289–299 | Cite as

High School Dropouts in Emerging Adulthood: Substance Use, Mental Health Problems, and Crime

  • Brandy R. MaynardEmail author
  • Christopher P. Salas-Wright
  • Michael G. Vaughn
Original Paper

Abstract

This study examined the distribution of substance use, mental health, and criminal behavior among dropouts derived from a nationally representative sample of 18–25 year old (N = 19,312) emerging adults in the United States. Using public-use data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this study employed multiple logistic regression with adjustments for complex survey sampling and compared high school dropouts with graduates with respect to substance use, mental health, and criminal behavior. After controlling for the effects of age, gender, race/ethnicity, family income, receipt of government assistance, employment status, and metropolitan population density, dropouts were more likely to meet criteria for nicotine dependence and report daily cigarette use, and more likely to report having attempted suicide in the previous year, been arrested for larceny, assault, drug possession or drug sales relative to their high school graduate counterparts. The findings of this study provide important insights and an initial epidemiologic portrait of mental health, substance use, and criminal behaviors of dropouts during emerging adulthood.

Keywords

High school dropouts Emerging adulthood Mental health Substance use 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful for the support from the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, the Greater Texas Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences grants (R324A100022 & R324B080008) and from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P50 HD052117). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the supporting entities.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55, 469–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Arnett, J. J. (2005). The developmental context of substance use in emerging adulthood. Journal of Drug Issues, 35, 235–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chapman, C., Laird, J., & KewalRamani, A. (2011). Trends in high school dropout and completion rates in the United States: 19722009 (NCES 2012-006). Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.
  5. Fagerstrom, K. O. (1978). Measuring degree of physical dependence to tobacco smoking with reference to individualization of treatment. Addictive Behaviors, 3(3–4), 235–241.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Freudenberg, N., & Ruglis, J. (2007). Reframining school dropout as a public health issue. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy, 4, 1–11.Google Scholar
  7. Furukawa, T. A., Kessler, R. C., Slade, T., & Andrews, G. (2003). The performance of the K6 and K10 screening scales for psychological distress in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychological Medicine, 33(2), 357–362.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Gordon, R. S. (1983). An operational classification of disease prevention. Public Health Reports, 98, 107–109.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Gulliver, A., Griffiths, K. M., & Christensen, H. (2010). Perceived barriers and facilitators to mental health help-seeking in young people: A systematic review. BMC Psychiatry, 10(113), 1–9.Google Scholar
  10. Heatherton, T. F., Kozlowski, L. T., Frecker, R. C., & Fagerstrom, K. O. (1991). The Fagerström test for nicotene depenence: A revision of the Fagerström tolerance questionnaire. British Journal of Addiction, 86, 1119–1127.Google Scholar
  11. Holden, R. R. (2010). Social desirability. In R. J. Corsini & W. E. Craighead (Eds.), Encyclopedia of psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Hunt, J., & Eisenberg, D. (2010). Mental health problems and help-seeking behavior among college students. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46, 3–10.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Juster, R.-P., Bizik, G., Picard, M., Arsenault-Lapierre, G., Sindi, S., Trepanier, L., et al. (2011). A transdisciplinary perspective of chronic stress in relation to psychopathology throughout life span development. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 725–776.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Kessler, R. C., Barker, P. R., Colpe, L. J., Epstein, J. F., Gfroerer, J. C., Hiripi, E., et al. (2003). Screening for serious mental illness in the general population. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60(2), 184–189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617–627.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Levin, H. M., & Belfield, C. R. (2007). Educational interventions to raise high school graduation rates. In C. R. Belfield & H. M. Levin (Eds.), The price we pay: Economic and social consequences of inadequate education (pp. 177–199). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lochner, L., & Moretti, E. (2004). The effect of education on crime: Evidence from prison, arrests and self-reports. American Economic Review, 94, 155–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. National Adolescent Health Information Center. (2008). 2008 fact sheet on demographics: Adolescents & young adults. San Francisco, CA: Author, University of California, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  19. Novak, S. P., Colpe, L. J., Barker, P. R., & Gfroerer, J. C. (2010). Development of a brief mental health impairment scale using a nationally representative sample in the USA. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 19(S1), 49–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Oreopoulos, P., & Salvanes, K. G. (2011). Priceless: The nonpecuniary benefits of schooling. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25, 159–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rehm, J., Üstün, T. B., Saxena, S., Nelson, C. B., Chatterji, S., Ivis, F., et al. (1999). On the development and psychometric testing of the WHO screening instrument to assess disablement in the general population. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research, 8(2), 110–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rickwood, D., Deane, F. P., Wilson, C. J., & Ciarrochi, J. (2005). Help seeking for mental health problems in adolescence and early adulthood. Advances in Mental Health, 4(3), 218–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosenfield, P. L. (1992). The potential of transdisciplinary research for sustaining and extending linkages between the health and social sciences. Social Science and Medicine, 35, 1343–1357.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rouse, C. E. (2007). Quantifying the costs of inadequate education: Consequences of the labor market. In C. R. Belfield & H. M. Levin (Eds.), The price we pay: Economic and social consequences of inadequate education (pp. 99–124). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  25. Rumberger, R. W. (2011). Dropping out. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rumberger, R. W., & Lim, S. A. (2008). Why students drop out of school: A review of 25 years of research (California Dropout Research Project Report 15). Retrieved from http://www.cdrp.ucsb.edu/pubs_reports.htm.
  27. Shiffman, S., Waters, A. J., & Hickcox, M. (2004). The Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale: A multi-dimensional measure of nicotine dependence. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 6(2), 327–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Slutske, W. S., Hunt-Carter, E. E., Nabors-Oberg, R. E., Sher, K. J., Bucholz, K. K., Madden, P. A., et al. (2004). Do college students drink more than their non-college-attending peers? Evidence from a population-based longitudinal female twin study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 113(4), 530.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. StataCorp. (2013). Stata Statistical Software: Release 13. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  30. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. (2011). Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  31. U.S. Department of Commerce. (2009). Extended measures of well-being: Living conditions in the United States, 2005. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/extended-05.html.
  32. U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. (2004). Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, 2004. Unpublished estimates. ICPSR04572-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 2007-02-28. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR04572.
  33. Vaughn, M. G., DeLisi, M., Beaver, K. M., Perron, B. E., & Abdon, A. (2012). Toward a criminal justice epidemiology: Behavioral and physical health of probationers and parolees in the United States. Journal of Criminal Justice, 40, 165–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vaughn, M. G., DeLisi, M., & Matto, H. C. (2013). Human behavior: A cell to society approach. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. Vaughn, M. G., Salas-Wright, C. P., & Maynard, B. R. (2014). Dropping out of school and chronic disease in the United States. Journal of Public Health, 22, 265–270.Google Scholar
  36. Wilson, S. J., Tanner-Smith, E. E., Lipsey, M. W., Steinka-Fry, K., & Morrison, J. (2011). Dropout prevention and intervention programs: Effects on school completion and dropout among school-aged children and youth. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 2011, 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandy R. Maynard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christopher P. Salas-Wright
    • 2
  • Michael G. Vaughn
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social WorkSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.School of Social WorkThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

Personalised recommendations