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Croat Med J. 2009 Apr;50(2):157-64.

Perceived exposure to substance use and risk-taking behavior in early adolescence: cross-sectional study.

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  • 1Institute for Social Research, Zagreb, Croatia.

Abstract

AIM:

To examine the relation between perceived exposure to parents, siblings, and peers' substance use and self-reported substance consumption among early adolescents in Primorsko-goranska county, Croatia, and between perceived exposure to substance use and risk-taking behaviors such as going out late at night, gathering at secluded places, skipping school, and gambling.

METHOD:

A self-reported cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2007 among 2219 eight-grade (14-year old) pupils in elementary schools in Primorsko-goranska county. Exposure to substance use in their immediate social environment, self-reported consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, inhalants, and marihuana, ways of spending free time, and family and peer relationships were assessed.

RESULTS:

There was a significant association between perceived exposure to substance use and self-reported consumption of cigarettes, alcohol, inhalants, and marihuana in both sexes (P < 0.001). Pupils whose parents, siblings, and peers used substances significantly more often developed the same behavioral patterns. Level of exposure to substance use in the immediate social environment had the strongest effect on experimenting with smoking among girls (from 26.6% in low exposure to 76.2% in high exposure group) and among boys (from 15.8% in low exposure to 69.4% in high exposure); on regular everyday smoking among girls (from 4.4% in low exposure to 45% in high exposure group) and among boys (from 2.7% in low exposure to 36.7% in high exposure group); on hard liquor consumption among girls (from 25.1% in low exposure to 79.5% in high exposure group) and among boys (from 28.1% in low exposure to 78.4% in high exposure group), as well as on binge drinking among girls (from 10.9% in low exposure to 56.6% in high exposure group) and among boys (from 15.5% in low exposure to 62.4% in high exposure group). Girls and boys exposed to substance use engaged more often in risk-taking and potentially delinquent behaviors (F(2, 1180) = 166 502; P < 0.001, two-way ANOVA).

CONCLUSION:

High exposure to substance use in immediate social environment and its great impact on substance use among early adolescents indicate that there is a need for the introduction of preventive programs that would reduce inappropriate behavior among adolescents' social models.

PMID:
19399949
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2681056
Free PMC Article
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