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Psychol Addict Behav. 2009 Dec;23(4):736-42. doi: 10.1037/a0017125.

Self-coded indirect memory associations in a brief school-based intervention for substance use suspensions.

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Psychology and Computer Science, The University of British Columbia, Okanagan, Kelowna, BC, Canada.


This study assessed the concurrent validity of self-generated and self-coded substance use associations for marijuana and alcohol use. Grades seven to twelve students were assessed as part of a brief intervention program in lieu of suspension for substance use infractions in school. During the cognitive assessment, students generated memory associations to probes for high-risk situations and desirable outcomes. Later, the participant rated their responses according to categories including both non-risk and substance use. Three different coding methods were compared: (1) conservative codes using clearly unambiguous responses, (2) liberal scores adding ambiguous, but likely responses, and (3) self-coded. Self-coded scores were higher, had stronger correlations with substance use, and were better predictors of substance use and problems than either conservative or liberal coded scores. These findings suggest that self-coding may be used to improve concurrent validity, decrease ambiguities in coding, and reduce the cost of measuring memory associations. The present method promises a cost effective and valid measure of indirect substance use cognitions that can be readily adapted for interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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