An Empirical Assessment of Juvenile Drug Use, Self-Medication and Violent Behavior

Michael Ostrowsky, University at Albany

The majority of research predicts and finds a positive association between substance use and violence. However, some research has found that substance use decreases the likelihood of violence. It has been noted that some drugs assuage distressful feelings related to aggression. For example, many researchers have found that marijuana use suppresses the expression of aggressive impulses. In short, some researchers find that substance use predicts violence, while other find that substance use serves to moderate violent tendencies through self-medication. Using a sample of adolescents, this study examines the efficacy of both of these perspectives in explaining violent behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006