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USE OF LEGAL DRUGS AMONG ADOLESCENTS: GENDER, PERCEIVED RISKS AND AGE OF FIRST USE.

USE OF LEGAL DRUGS AMONG ADOLESCENTS: GENDER, PERCEIVED RISKS AND AGE OF FIRST USE.

PhDr. Dana Rosová, PhD., SR

 

ABSTRACT.

Aim: To explore the associations between gender, perceived risks of alcohol use (AU) and tobacco cigarettes smoking (TCS) and the age of initiation of AU and TCS in a sample of adolescents.  The controlled variables were town size, socio-economical status, perceived availability of alcohol and tobacco cigarettes, risky behaviour of parents and best friend.

Methods: The sample consisted of 1298 adolescents (53.3% girls, M=11.72, SD=0.67) (APVV-0253-11). The study explored the age when alcohol and cigarettes were used for the first time, the perceived risk of daily AU in small amounts and occasional excessive AU, the perceived risk of occasional and daily TCS using a questionnaire from the ESPAD study. The data were analysed using linear regression.

Results: Model 1 (R2=14.5%): Gender (β=-0.129, p<0.001) and the perceived risk of daily use of small amounts of alcohol (β=-0.112, p<0.05) were significantly associated with the age alcohol was used for the first time.  Model 2 (R2= 15.7%): The perceived risk of daily smoking (β=-0.214, p<0.001) was associated with the age when smoking for the first time.

Discussion: Those who started smoking and drinking alcohol at an earlier age perceived a higher risk of alcohol use and smoking cigarettes.      

Keywords: Legal Drugs - The Age of Initiation of Their Use - Adolescents

ABSTRAKT. Text abstraktu v slovenčine/češtine (do 200 slov, bez odstavcov; Times New Rman, 10pt)

Kľúčové slová: (3-6 kľúčových slov v slovenčine/češtine; Times New Roman, 10pt)

Cieľ: Preskúmať vzťahy medzi pohlavím, vnímanými rizikami užívania alkoholu (UA) a fajčením tabakových cigariet (FTC) a vekom začatia UA a FTC vo vzorke adolescentov. Kontrolované premenné boli veľkosť mesta, sociálno-ekonomický status, vnímaná dostupnosť alkoholu a tabakových cigariet, rizikové správanie rodičov a najlepšieho priateľa.

Metodika: Vzorka sa skladala z 1298 adolescentov (53,3% dievčat, M = 11,72, SD = 0,67) (APVV-0253-11). Štúdia skúmala vek kedy boli alkohol a cigarety použité prvýkrát, vnímané riziko denného UA v malých množstvách a občasné nadmerné UA, vnímané riziko príležitostného a denného FTC pomocou dotazníka zo štúdie ESPAD. Dáta boli analyzované za použitia lineárnej regresie.

Výsledky: Model 1               (R2 = 14,5%): Pohlavie (β = -0,129, p<0.001) a vnímané riziko každodenného užívania malého množstva alkoholu (β=-0.112, p<0.05) boli významne spojené s vekom, v ktorom bol alkohol užitý prvýkrát. Model 2     (R2 = 15,7%): Vnímané riziko denného fajčenia (β = -0,214, p &lt;0,001) bolo spojené s vekom kedy fajčili prvykrát.

Diskusia: Tí, ktorí začali fajčiť a piť alkohol v mladšom veku vnímajú vyššie riziko užívania alkoholu a fajčenia cigariet.

Kľúčové slová: legálne drogy - vek začatia ich užitia- mladiství

 

  1. INTRODUCTION

Abusing of substances is the overall social problem. A low age of initiation of substance use is related to their abuse in later life (Hawkins et al. 1997). A higher risk of experimentation with substance use was found among boys than among girls (Harrel et al. 1998). Risk perception is one of the known predictors of substance use among adolescents (Hawkins, Catalano, Miller, 1992).

  1. METHOD

The sample consisted of 1298 adolescents from 63 schools in Eastern, Western and Middle Slovakia (53.3% girls, M=11.72, SD=0.67). Data collection took place in September 2013. Questionnaires from the ESPAD study (Hibell, 2012) were used for data collection.

Examined variables:

Gender

Perceived risk of the following:

  • smoke cigarettes occasionally
  • smoke one or more packedts of cigarettes per day
  • have 1 or 2 drinks every day
  • have five of more drinks each weekend

Answers were assessed on 4 point scale (1-no risk – 4 – high risk)

Controlled variables:

Town size, in terms of number of inhabitants (categories: (1) 0-4999 (2) 5000 – 9999 (3)10 000 – 19 999 (4)20 000 - 49 999 (5)50 000 – 99 999 (6)100 000 and more)

Perceived socio-economical status

How well off is your family compared to other families in your country? (1- Very much better off  - 7 - Very much less well off

Perceived availability of alcohol and tobacco cigarettes

How difficult do you think it would be for you to get cigarettes if you wanted? (1 – impossible – 5 – very easy)

Risky behaviour of parents and best friend

Your mother/father/the best friend do the following? - smoke tobacco cigarettes daily/ drink alcohol beverages at least once a week (yes-no) The data were analyzed using linear regression.

  1. RESULTS

Table 1. Regression model for the age of iniciation of alcohol use

ß

 

S.E.

 

t

 

sig

 

gender1

 

-0,6

 

0,084

 

-3,606 <0.001

 

perceived risk of everyday use of small doses of alcohol

 

-0.029

 

0.012 -2,408 0,016
perceived risk of occasional use of  large doses of alcohol

 

0,009

 

0.014

 

0,651 0,516
size of the village

 

0.007

 

0.006

 

1,222 0,222
perceived socio-economic status

 

-0.012

 

0.006

 

-1,932 0,054
perceived availability of alcohol

 

0.030

 

0.005

 

6,537 <0.001

 

risk behavior of mother2

 

0.029

 

0.051

 

0,559 0,576
risk behavior of father2

 

0.049

 

0.026 1,896 0,058
risk behavior of best friend2

 

0.199

 

0,039 5,142 0,001

 

Reference group: 1boy, 2 yes   

 

The Model was significant and explaining 14.5% (F = 12.9 p < 0.001; Tab 1) variance of the dependent variable (the age of initiation of alcohol use). Gender (β =-0.60, p< 0.001),     and perceived risk of everyday use of small doses of alcohol (β =-0.029, pα < 0.05)   were significantly associated with  the age of initiation of using alcohol. Between                 the controlled variables were significant predictors perceived availability of alcohol (β = 0.03,       p < 0.001) and risk behavior of best friend (β = 0.199, p< 0.005).

Table 2. Regression model for the age of initiation of tobacco cigarettes smoking.

ß

 

S.E.

 

t

 

sig

 

gender1

 

0,005

 

0,004

 

1,038 0,299

 

perceived risk of occasional smoking

 

-0.000

 

0.003 0,045 0,964
perceived risk of daily smoking

 

-0,016

 

0.003

 

-5,474 <0.001

 

town size -0,003

 

0.002

 

-1,988 0,047
perceived socio-economic status

 

0,001 0.002

 

0,640 0,523
perceived availability of cigarettes

 

0.004

 

0.001

 

2,963 0,003

 

risk behavior of mother2

 

0.006

 

0.006

 

1,003 0,316
risk behavior of father2

 

0.005

 

0.005 0,013 0,989
risk behavior of best friend2

 

0.082

 

0,011 7,340 <0.001

 

Reference group: 1boy, 2 yes

The model was significant and explaining 15.7% variance test of the dependent variable    (F = 15.684, p < 0.001; Tab 2). Perceived risk of daily smoking was significantly associated with age of initiation of tobacco cigarettes smoking (β =-0.016, p < 001). Between the controlled variables were significant predictors the size of the town (β =-0.003, p < 0.05), perceived availability of tobacco cigarettes (β = 0.004, p < 0.05) and risk behavior of best friend (β = 0.082, p < 0.001).

 

  1. CONCLUSIONS/DISCUSSION

Those who started smoking and drinking alcohol at an earlier age perceived a higher risk of alcohol use and smoking cigarettes. Results support the importance of effective drug use prevention strategy (information giving, social influence strategy and life skills enhancement) among Slovak adolecents. Gender differences in alcohol use should be taken into account, in terms of prevention programs implemetation.

 

 

REFERENCES

Harrell, J. S., Bangdiwala, S. I., Deng, S., Webb, J. P., & Bradley, C. (1998). Smoking initiation in youth: the roles of gender, race, socioeconomics, and developmental status. Journal of Adolescent Health, 23(5), 271-279.

Hibell, B., Guttormsson, U., Ahlström, S., Balakireva, O., Bjarnason, T., Kokkevi, A., & Kraus, L. (2012). The 2011 ESPAD report. Substance use among students in, 36.

Hawkins, J. D., Graham, J. W., Maguin, E., Abbott, R., Hill, K. G., & Catalano, R. F. (1997). Exploring the effects of age of alcohol use initiation and psychosocial risk factors on subsequent alcohol misuse. Journal of studies on alcohol, 58(3), 280.

Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological bulletin, 112(1), 64.

 

 

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This work was supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the contract No. APVV-0253-11.

 

PhDr. Dana Rosová, PhD.: odborníčka s dlhoročnou praxou v oblasti prevencie sociálno-patologických javov/ obchodovania s ľuďmi, rasizmu, extrémizmu, šikanovania, drogových závislostí, porúch správania/ a poradenstva, lektorujem sociálno-psychologické výcviky.