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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1995 Jul;39(1):15-21.

Cognitive capacity in female adolescent substance abusers.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, PA 15213, USA.


Female adolescents who qualified for a DSM-III-R diagnosis of psychoactive substance use disorder (n = 106) were compared to normal controls (n = 74) on a battery of cognitive, intellectual and achievement tests. It was found that the substance abuse group performed deficiently on tests requiring language skills, sustained attention and perceptual efficiency and scored lower than controls on standardized tests of intelligence and academic achievement. No relationship between magnitude of cognitive deficit and severity of substance abuse was observed. The implications of these findings are discussed with respect to the etiology and maintenance of drug use.

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