Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Subjects were 32 adolescents from a private, inpatient drug abuse treatment unit and 32 university laboratory high school adolescents with no history of treatment for drug abuse (16 females and 16 males in each group). Each subject completed the Rathus Assertiveness Schedule, the High School Self Expression Scale, and the Polydrug Assessment Scale and role-played and wrote responses to eight items involving familiar and unfamiliar female and male peers. Judges independently rated assertiveness and aggressiveness for all responses and affect and anxiety for role-played responses. Interrater reliabilities ranged from .79 to .92. Scores on self-report inventories were submitted to 2 (abuser, nonabuser) x 2 (female, male) x 2 (role-played responses first, written responses first) analyses of variance. Other measures were subjected to analyses of variance with the same main factors and repeated measures on familiarity and peer sex. Contrary to predictions, abusers did not differ from nonabusers in assertiveness, rated anxiety, and affect. However, abusers did report greater anxiety in role-playing, were more aggressive, produced fewer responses, and endorsed more Polydrug Assessment Scale items. Results suggested that abuser-nonabuser differences were partly related to subject sex and peer sex and familiarity. Most outstanding were the higher aggressiveness of abusers toward male peers in written responses, higher aggressiveness of abusers toward unfamiliar peers in role-playing and higher aggressiveness of male abusers in role-playing. The hypothesis that males would demonstrate greater aggressiveness than females was supported for role-played responses only. The implications of findings for future research and for treatment programs were noted, along with the need to examine sex differences and situational variables.