An investigation of the relationship between recreational drug use and antisocial attitudes in a non-clinical setting

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Heffernan, Colin
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BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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An experiment was undertaken to examine the relationship between antisocial attitudes and recreational drug use. The relationship between antisocial personality disorder and substance abuse has been demonstrated by numerous studies conducted in a clinical setting. Such investigations carried out in a clinical setting are nonetheless subject to a number of confounding variables. Consequently the study sought to examine this relationship in a non-clinical setting by assessing participants sampled randomly from the general population. 140 participants took part in the study. These were comprised of 81 participants in the male condition and 59 participants in the female condition. The findings in this area with regard to gender have proven varied and often contradictory. Consequently male and female participants were examined separately. Each participant completed a recreational drug use questionnaire and an antisocial attitudes questionnaire. A correlation was then carried out for each condition, making it a within group experimental design. It was predicted that there would be a significant correlation between the level of drug use scores and antisocial attitudes scores achieved by participants in the male condition and also in the female condition. Data was analysed first through descriptive statistics followed by a Pearsons correlation. HypoFinal Year Project 1 was supported, as there was a significant correlation between male antisocial attitudes scores and drug use scores. HI: (r = .665, n = 81, P < 0.05). A significant correlation was not found between antisocial attitudes scores and drug use scores achieved in the female condition. Therefore HypoFinal Year Project 2 was not supported. H2: (r =.152, n =59, P ≥ 0.05). Issues which potentially confounded the results obtained were raised. Alternative explanations for the findings of the study were then discussed together with potential areas for future research in order to examine these possible alternatives.