Factors associated with continued solvent use in Indigenous petrol sniffers following treatment

Authors


Kylie M. Dingwall BArts, Psych (Hon), PhD Candidate, Paul Maruff PhD, Principal Fellow, Alan R. Clough PhD, Associate Professor, Sheree Cairney PhD, Senior Research Fellow. Ms Kylie M. Dingwall, Menzies School of Health Research, PO Box 4066, Alice Springs, NT 0870, Australia. Tel: +61 8 8951 4753; Fax: +61 8 8951 4777; E-mail: kylie.dingwall@menzies.edu.au

Abstract

Introduction and Aims.While petrol sniffing afflicts several isolated Indigenous groups internationally, few studies have examined the factors contributing to continued sniffing following treatment. This study aims to describe those factors in a group of Aboriginal Australian users.

Design and Methods.During residential treatment, 56 petrol sniffers completed baseline demographic and substance use questionnaires and cognitive and psychological assessments. Eighty per cent were reassessed and interviewed an average of 9 months (SD = 4) later. Cognitive, psychological, substance use and sociocultural factors were compared between those who relapsed at follow up and those who maintained abstinence.

Results.More males (n = 44) than females (n = 12) were studied. Of the 45 individuals followed up, 58% (n = 26) relapsed. Significant risk factors for relapse included the ready availability of petrol, living in urban centres, being unmarried and living with fewer people (P < 0.05). Other potential risk factors, indicated by P-values < 0.10, included younger age of first petrol use, having sniffed within 14 days prior to treatment, poly substance use, sniffing in response to negative emotions, and feeling lonely at baseline and having sleep problems at follow up.

Discussion and Conclusion.This study identified psychosocial factors that may be associated with continued petrol sniffing among Aboriginal Australians post treatment. Future research, interventions and policy relating to petrol sniffing should consider these factors. [Dingwall KM, Maruff P, Clough AR, Cairney S. Factors associated with continued solvent use in Indigenous petrol sniffers following treatment. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:40–46]

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