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Scand J Public Health. 2008 Sep;36(7):769-77. doi: 10.1177/1403494808089650. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

Environmental factors as predictors of alcohol use among ninth-grade adolescents in Pitkaranta (Russian Karelia) and in eastern Finland.

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  • 1Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In Russia, tobacco and alcohol use by adolescents are serious problems. In Finland, as in many other European countries, alcohol use is a growing concern.

AIMS:

This study aimed to find out whether similar environmental factors predict adolescents' alcohol use among 15-year old adolescents in two politically and economically different cultures: in the Pitkäranta district in Russian Karelia and in eastern Finland.

METHODS:

Research data gathered by self-administered questionnaires from the second North Karelia Youth Study and the Pitkäranta Youth Study were analysed. Path models using the structural equation modelling (SEM) approach were constructed to test whether similar path structures fit for boys and girls in both countries, and to test whether regression coefficients are similar between the cultures and by gender.

RESULTS:

The results showed that alcohol use by family members and best friend is positively related to adolescents' alcohol use both directly and indirectly. The best friend's alcohol use was the most important predictor of adolescents' own alcohol use in every sub-sample. When indirect influences were also identified, the significance of parents' and siblings' alcohol use, in addition to alcohol use by the best friends, was strongly supported.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results highlighted the importance of the process of peer selection for adolescents' choices, and the importance of offering support to the parents and to the health personnel working with children and adolescents.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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