Substance use disorders among adolescents in Taiwan: prevalence, sociodemographic correlates and psychiatric co-morbidity
Background. This paper reports prevalences, sociodemographic correlates and psychiatric co-morbidity of substance use disorders (SUDs) among adolescents in Taiwan.
Methods. A random sample of ninth grade students (N=774) was selected from an urban, a suburban and a rural community. Two-stage case identification was employed with a brief screening tool and a modified Chinese version of the Kiddie-SADS conducted by child psychiatrists.
Results. The overall prevalence of any SUD was 11·0%, with nicotine (96·0%) as the most prevalent substance. The prevalences of SUDs were significantly higher in boys, rural community and classes with poor academic performance. Sixty-two per cent of all SUD cases suffered from other concurrent psychiatric disorders. The most common co-morbid conditions were conduct disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and mood disorders.
Conclusions. High prevalences of SUDs were found among adolescent school children in Taiwan. Effects of urbanization, selective migration and the availability of substances are possible explanations for the urban-rural difference on the risk for SUDs. Psychiatric co-morbid conditions for SUD among adolescents in Taiwan were similar to those in Western societies.
c1 Address for correspondence: Professor Andrew T. A. Cheng, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.