The Impact of Social Structures on Adolescents' Deviant Behaviors: The Study of 402 High-Risk Street Drug Users in Iran

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:50 AM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Maryam MEHRABI , Mental, Social Health and Substance Abuse Department, Ministry of Health, Tehran, Iran
Ali NIKFARJAM , Director of Mental and Social health and Substance Abuse Department, Ministry of Health,, Iran
Sharareh ESKANDARIEH , Expert of Health Ministry,, Iran
Maneli SADEGHI , Expert of Health Ministry, Iran
Aims:This study investigates the social underlying factors which impact on substance abuse in Iran's society.

Method:In a comprehensive social approach, a sociological analysis was conducted on the triple dimensions of social structure: institutional, relational and embodied structures which impact on individuals' behaviors by using the results of a secondary analysis of a survey carried out on 402 high risk abandoned drug users in 2009 and plus evidence from some documentary findings of sociological studies to confirm the arguments about the impact of social structures on adolescents' deviant behaviors. The paper is drawn up on theories' Durkim, Giddens, Putnam and also the evidence related to the situations of social anomie and social capital exhaustion that illuminate the role of society institutional and relational structures on forming the embodied structure or the same actors' behavioural habits and skills in society.

Findings: The most effective factors of substance abuse were individual factors, bonding with unhealthy social networks, exhaustion of bonding social capital, and lack of social support. During the period of social transition, emergence of up rootedness in modern life and disorientation of social actors in a space of discontinuity of old social bonds creates a ontological insecurity that can lead to the confusion of social actors to organize their social world and to deal effectively with not-so complicated realities of social life.

Conclusion: Substance abuse is acknowledged as a social deviance which is stemmed from weakness of institutional, relational and embodied social structures during the modern era. The findings indicate the necessity of prioritization of substance abuse prevention by using a comprehensive model which includes interventions, i.e. promoting an established social order by structural policies for improving social capital, emotional and social skills and social support for individuals in society.