The association between substance use and loneliness in adolescence
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In adolescence, substance use is quite prevalent. Substance use brings a heightened risk for mental and physical health problems, therefore it is crucial to understand what factors associate with substance use in order to improve substance use interventions. One factor that has shown to be associated with substance use is loneliness. Previous research on this association is mostly focused on adults. Therefore, this thesis aimed to examine if there is an association between loneliness and substance use in adolescence, by using data from the MASLO-project. The associations (N = 31) between loneliness and substance use were investigated with a random-effects meta-analysis. The results of this analysis showed no significant relationship between loneliness and substance use (p = .265). In addition to the direct association between loneliness and substance use, the moderating factors age, sex and type of substance use were examined. These results showed no significant effect of the moderators on the association between substance use and loneliness. This study shows that although loneliness and substance use are both common in adolescence, no association is found between the two variables, which indicates that these are separate occurrences during adolescence and are not significantly related to each other.