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Am J Addict. 2006;15 Suppl 1:137-43.

Employment and adolescent alcohol and drug treatment and recovery: an exploratory study.

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Lighthouse Institute, Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington, IL 61701, USA.


Studies of adolescents in the general population show that most high school students are employed and that there is a positive linear relationship between hours worked and increases in alcohol and other drug use. Mixed methods are used to examine the relationship of employment for adolescents who are in outpatient substance abuse treatment to their use, treatment experiences, and recovery. Several theories offered to explain the relationship between adolescent employment and substance use were examined. Most adolescents were employed, often during treatment, with increasing numbers reporting employment over the year-long follow-up period. Adolescents reported frequent alcohol and other drug use after work and with coworkers and indicated that income from work often was used to purchase alcohol and other drugs. Most parents did not provide monitoring of work-related income. Balancing employment and treatment was often logistically difficult and stressful for the adolescents. Employment situations are a critical aspect of adolescents' recovery environment, and more research is needed to learn how to create support for recovery in this aspect of an adolescent's life.

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