Psychological Features Of The Level Of Subjective Control In Drug Addicts In Adolescence


Youth, as an age period of a person's life, is recognized by many authors as one of the most important periods for the personal development of a person. It is during this age period that the final transition to the maturity of the individual is carried out, the formation of stable personality traits is completed. The main features of this period are: the formation of self-consciousness, the formation of a worldview, the adoption of the entire complex of social roles of an adult and mastering them, the final formation of one's own position in interpersonal relations and the stabilization of mental States. In this work, the personal characteristics of drug addicts of youth were studied. The differences in personality characteristics between drug addicts and chemically independent young people were compared.The practical significance of the work lies in the fact that its results can be used in the activities of rehabilitation institutions for drug addicts, as well as in the work of specialists of educational institutions, in order to successfully identify negative trends in the development of personal characteristics, exclusively from those described in the work, at earlier stages of formation in chemically independent boys and girls.



Over the past few years, the picture of drug addiction in Russia has changed. These changes affected such indicators as the average age of drug users, the average age of first-time drug users, and the average life expectancy of drug users. All of these indicators have been trending downward in recent years (Dolya & Moisee, 2018; Popov, 2020). According to statistics, the average age of drug addiction in Russia is 15-17 years, and the percentage of drug use by children aged 9-13 years is sharply increasing. There are also cases of drug use by children aged 6-7 years – they are introduced to drug addiction by drug-addicted parents. According to the Federal drug control service of the Russian Federation, 70 thousand people die from drugs every year in Russia (Garber & Baranskaya, 2018; Nagumanova & Politika, 2020). 86 thousand Russians become drug addicts. Each addict draws 5-7 people into the drug lifestyle, which gives the process the character of an epidemic. The death rate among drug addicts is 20 times higher than in the General population. Death from an overdose, medical complications, and suicide Kukulyar and Bessonova (2017), Khalfina et al. (2020).

The downward trend of age of first drug use, level of destructive impact on the body high forming speed counter dependence, frequent cases irreversible consequences in the psyche, a high level of mortality associated with the use of drugs – all these factors make the topic of timely identification of changes to personal characteristics and drug-addicted in adolescence relevant today. (Gagarina & Kalmykova, 2007)

The second argument in favor of the relevance of the study is that the concept of "norm" and" normality "in psychology today is not a certain point, with precisely specified coordinates of location, placed on the "field of life" (Budanova et al. 2019, Yershova et al., 2019). If this were the case, then the concept of "normality" and "norm" would cover an extremely small number of people living in the world (Hanishina &Voronin, 2019). Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that such a world, where almost all its representatives are "abnormal", cannot exist for a long time and successfully. This assumption itself is a refutation of the fact that the concept of "norm" cannot be a strictly defined point without any deviations. Today, "norm" and "normality" in psychology is a fairly extended range (the normal distribution curve - the Gauss curve), the boundaries of which are set by specialists - hence the relative stability of the world (Isaev, 2019; Khasanova, 2017). To be able to identify personal characteristics, to be able to assess their level and correlate this level with the position within the range of "normality" – the idea is relevant at all times. With regard to this work, an extremely scarce amount of information is relevant, as well as research conducted on the topic of identifying personal differences between people with chemical addictions and people who are chemically independent (Sokolova & Gagarina, 2005; Timchenko et al., 2019).

Problem Statement

In accordance with the purpose of the study, the task was set to study the features of subjective control of drug addicts and chemically independent people in adolescence.

Research Questions

The following questions helped to address the stated problem:

  • to study the features and main distinctive characteristics of adolescence;
  • empirically investigate the personality characteristics of drug addicts and chemically independent people in adolescence;
  • to identify differences in the personal characteristics of drug addicts and chemically independent people of adolescent age.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to investigate the level of subjective control of drug addicts in adolescence.

Research Methods

The organization and conduct of an empirical study of the personal characteristics of drug addicts in adolescence took place in 5 rehabilitation centers operating in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. The study was conducted in the period from January to September 2017, the experimental group included 16-22 years (N=24). The control group included chemically independent young people – first-year students of the College of BSPU named after M. Akmulla (N=24).


Consider the results obtained by the method of "Level of subjective control". Figure 1 shows that the first group has pronounced scales: Internality in the field of achievements and Internality in relation to illness and health.

Characteristics of the experimental group. The scales are clearly expressed: the scale of general internality, the Scale of internality in the field of achievements, the Scale of internality in the field of failures, the scale of internality in the field of interpersonal relations, the Scale of internality in relation to health and illness.

Consider the differences obtained using the Mann-Whitney U-test. The results are presented in Table 1.

Table 1 - Results of statistical evaluation of differences in indicators according to the questionnaire " Level of subjective control "(USC) between chemically independent people in adolescence (Group 1) (N=24) and drug-addicted people in adolescence (Group 2) (N=24) (in the walls)
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Scales: Internality in the field failures and the Internality in family relations, the significance level of p <0.05, and in the scale Internality in the field of interpersonal relations, p <0.01.

Scales: the General internality, Internality in the field of achievements, the internality in the field of industrial relations and the internality in the field of health and disease are significant level differences between the first and second groups could not be established (Sokolova & Gagarina, 2005).

In Table 1, we see the following main indicators: mean, standard deviation, Mann-Whitney U-test and significance level (p).

Differences between the first and second groups were identified on the following scales:

1. Internality in the field of failures-this indicates that the representatives of the second group show a greater tendency to blame themselves for various troubles and sufferings than the representatives of the first group of subjects;

2. Internality in family relations-this indicates that the subjects of the second group consider themselves responsible for events occurring in their family life to a greater extent than the subjects of the first group;

3. Internality in the field of interpersonal relations-this suggests that the participants of the second group are more likely to consider themselves responsible for building interpersonal relations with others than the participants of the first group (Khalfina et al., 2020).

A group of chemically independent people in adolescence is characterized by a pronounced Mature and responsible attitude towards their health and the success they achieve in life. According to other scales, the level of internality of personal characteristics prevails over externality in this group, which indicates that the subjects understand their own importance in various areas of their life. The exception is the scale: Internality in family relations and Internality in the field of industrial relations. In the first case, this is due to the fact that the group of subjects does not yet have experience in family relations (except for the subordinate role of the child, which is characterized by externality), due to their age characteristics. In the second case, this is due to the fact that the group of subjects consisted of students who do not yet have experience in the field of permanent industrial relations, also due to their age characteristics.

The group of drug addicts in adolescence is characterized by the fact that on all scales, without exception, it demonstrates a higher level of internality in subjective control in comparison with the first group of subjects. This can be explained by the fact that in the conditions where the study took place, the subjects were already influenced by the rehabilitation program for correcting the thinking and behavior of drug addicts. One of the directions of this program, as a rule, is an attempt to rid the drug addict of infantilism, both in thinking and behavior. Common to the first and second groups is the sagging of the scales: Internality in family relations and Internality in the field of industrial relations. In the case of the second group, the level of internality on these scales is quite high in comparison with the first group, but still below the overall picture of the results obtained in general by the method. This can be explained by the same deep-rooted infantilism, as a personal feature inherent in drug addicts (Gagarina & Kalmykova, 2007; Goncharova, 2017).


In summary, all of the research questions were answered in the course of the study. The results of the "USK" method also showed that the average indicators of a group of drug addicts are always higher than those of a group of chemically independent subjects. But a significant level of differences was identified on three scales out of seven, which are studied in the methodology: Internality in the field of failures, Internality in family relations, Internality in the field of interpersonal relations. High indicators on these scales indicate that drug addicts tend to evaluate their contribution and influence more significantly in relation to these components of life than chemically independent ones. But given the destructive nature of the disease, in relation to drug addicts, we can say that they do not accept responsibility, but blame themselves for failures, the destruction of the family and the inability to build normal relationships, respectively.

Thus, the first and second groups of subjects have significant differences in personal characteristics.


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25 June 2021

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Personality, norm, pathology, behavior, uncertanity, COVID-19

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Khalfina, R., & Shevchuk, O. (2021). Psychological Features Of The Level Of Subjective Control In Drug Addicts In Adolescence. In M. Ovchinnikov, I. Trushina, E. Zabelina, & S. Kurnosova (Eds.), Personality in Norm and in Pathology, vol 112. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 315-320). European Publisher.