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J Adolesc Health. 2002 Jun;30(6):448-54.

Social skills and attitudes associated with substance use behaviors among young adolescents.

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Brenner Center For Child and Adolescent Health, Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School Of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, USA.



To examine how adolescents' attitudes and social skills affect current substance use and intentions to use substances in the future.


An anonymous questionnaire was administered to 2646 seventh graders in their classrooms. The questionnaire was developed to measure the frequency of tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use, anticipated use, positive attitudes toward drug use, self-efficacy to say "no," decision-making skills, advertising-viewing skills, anxiety-reducing skills, communication skills, drug-resistance skills, perception of peer substance use, and weapon-carrying behavior. Ethnicity classified respondents as "white" or "students of color" and family structure indicated one vs. two-parent families. Data were analyzed with Spearman's r, analysis of variance, and multiple linear regression.


Forty-one percent of students were minority, 50.6% female, over 90% were either 12- or 13-year-olds, and 69.9% lived in two-parent families. A multiple linear regression model demonstrated that self-efficacy to say "no, positive attitudes toward drug use, perception of peer substance use, male gender, weapon-carrying, and fighting accounted for 51% of the variation in the current use multiple substance scale. Anticipated substance use during the subsequent year was significantly associated with current substance use, positive attitudes toward drug use, self-efficacy to say "no, drug-resistance skills, weapon-carrying, and fighting behavior. This model accounted for 73.9% of the variance in anticipated substance use.


In today's world, where drug use is common, building adolescents' drug-resistance skills and self-efficacy, while enhancing decision-making capacity, may reduce their use of illegal substances.

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