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Title: Solvent abuse
Author: Watson, Joyce Minty
ISNI:       0000 0000 3599 6013
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 1977
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The aims of this study were to provide information about the demographic characteristics of solvent sniffers in Lanarkshire, to investigate the extent of the practice, to determine the sociological factors associated with it and to provide details concerning the effects, particularly the toxic effects, of adhesives and other substances, the vapours of which could be deliberately inhaled. In order to achieve this end, information from a wide variety of sources had to be collected and collated. A retrospective study was conducted in 1975 of 102 consecutive police cases referred to Community Involvement personnel between 1st May 1971 and 31st December 1973 and 102 non-sniffing police controls who had been involved in anti-social activities. The relevant information was collected by means of structured questionnaires completed by the investigator. After the answers had been post-coded, the data were punched on to 80 column cards, handled by an I.B.M. computer and the results obtained by means of a Fortran program. Results indicated that solvent abuse occurred sporadically in deviant careers and that solvent sniffers were more likely than control subjects to abuse alcohol or drugs at a later date. The Jignificance of this has been fully discussed. Most of the remaining information for the period 1970-1975 was collected retrospectively from police files. Social work Department returns, Assessment Centre case-records and hospital case-sheets by means of simple q.ue3tionnaires completed in each case by the investigator. Data handling was conducted manually. Simultaneously, a study was undertaken of 84 solvent sniffers consecutively referred to the investigator by police, social agencies and parents between 1st January 1975 and 31st July 1975. 84 non sniffing delinquent children admitted to Lanarkshire's Assessment Centre during the same period were chosen to form a suitable control group and matching was carried out on an individual basis for age, sex, area of residence and nominal religious affiliation. Information was collected by means of structured though informal interviews conducted by the investigator. The answers obtained were then used to complete questionnaires in respect of each case. After the answers had been post-coded, the data were punched on to SO column cards handled by an I.B.M. computer and the results obtained by means of a standard Fortran program. Analyses of these indicated that only 20% of delinquent children studied had ever been involved in the practice of solvent abuse. Low socio-economic status, family instability, overcrowding and parental employment were found not to be associated factors in solvent abuse but both External and maternal drunkenness were. It was impossible within the context of the study to determine the extent to which alcoholism, as such, occurred among parents of the sniffers. Clinical and laboratory studies were conducted on the same 84 sniffers with a view to determining details of the practice. Information was collected by means of informal interviews and the answers used to complete questionnaires. Data were handled manually. The degree of involvement in the abuse of solvents was found to vary considerably and it became evident that the practice had remained largely undetected not only by the community agencies but also by parents. The methods employed for inhalation also varied but in many cases reached a high degree of sophistication.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (M.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Sociology