Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

December 1986


The purpose of this study was to obtain information relative to the extent of drug use by high school seniors in Tennessee. Patterns of drug use were obtained by using a questionnaire/opinionnaire developed by Bachman, Johnston, and O'Malley of the Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The review of literature focused on patterns of drug use by seniors throughout the nation using the same questionnaire/opinionnaire. The results of the national survey were compared with the findings in Tennessee. The questionnaire was administered to a stratified random sample of 450 seniors in 15 randomly selected high schools in West, Middle, and East Tennessee. The State Department of Education was utilized to select the 15 participating schools. Thirty students, 15 males and 15 females from each school, were selected by using a table of random numbers. A guidance counselor or other designated individual in each school was responsible for administering the questionnaire. The data obtained provided information regarding the extent of drug use by high school seniors in Tennessee. The study revealed that seniors in Tennessee use alcohol less on a lifetime and yearly basis compared with seniors throughout the nation. Monthly rates of alcohol utilization were practically the same. The study further showed that high school seniors in Tennessee were less likely to use marijuana on a lifetime, yearly and monthly basis than seniors in other high schools in the nation and less likely to use stimulants on a lifetime basis. The use of barbiturates, LSD, cocaine and heroin could not be statistically analyzed because of a lack of responses to the survey questions. Additional conclusions drawn as a result of the study are summarized as follows: (1) The main reasons seniors in Tennessee used drugs were: to experiment, to relieve tension, to get high, and to have a good time with friends. (2) The situations in which seniors in Tennessee used drugs were: at home, or at a party, on a date, with one or two other people, and in a car. (3) The drugs most abused in Tennessee were alcohol and marijuana. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access