Inhalant use in adolescents in northern Russia
Methods: Data on inhalant use and comorbid psychopathology were collected by means of self-reports from 2892 (42.4% boys) sixth to tenth grade students in public schools in Arkhangelsk, Russia. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to assess differences in the levels of internalizing and externalizing problems in boys and girls, who were non-users and users of inhalants.
Results: The prevalence of inhalant use was 6.1% among boys and 3.4% among girls. Compared with non-users, inhalant users scored significantly higher on internalizing and externalizing problems, functional impairment and lower on academic motivation, with psychopathology increasing with age. While there were no gender differences for internalizing problems, increased levels of externalizing problems in inhalant users were gender-specific (significantly higher in boys).
Conclusions: Inhalant use is related to significantly higher levels of comorbid psychopathology in Russian adolescents. Comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and intervention policies are needed to address inhalant use and its harmful effects.