Fletcher E, Boutin S, Martin-Storey A, Déry M, Temcheff CE. (2023). An exploration of intra-individual mechanisms for the association between childhood conduct problems and early adolescent substance use. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 21, 1946-1960.
Behavioural disinhibition and depression symptoms have both been suggested as potential mechanisms linking conduct problems (CP) to adolescent substance use; however, their roles have yet to be conclusively identified. The current project examines whether these mental health characteristics mediate the association between CP and early adolescent substance use. Participants (N = 744) were drawn from an ongoing longitudinal study on children with and without early CP. Structural equation models showed significant associations between CP at T1 (6.3 to 10.6 years old) and both depression symptoms and behavioural disinhibition 3 years later (T4). While depression symptoms at T4 were not associated with substance use at T6, behavioural disinhibition was. A significant partial indirect effect also emerged for behavioural disinhibition in the association between CP and substance use, but this effect disappeared once we controlled for age. Clinical implications of our study include a focus on global CP symptomatology.