Author(s): Kohn L, Kittel F, Piette D
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Abstract Cannabis consumption is on the rise in the French-speaking Community of Belgium, especially among teenagers. The physical and mental harms related to that drug prompted us to search for factors associated with cannabis consumption. The aim of this paper is thus to identify a series of potential predictors of teenager's cannabis use and particularly the influence of peer and family integration. The data analyzed were taken from the 1998 data bank "Health Behavior in School-Aged Children", an international quantitative cross-national study, which takes place every four years. The variables investigated were peer and family integration and the habit of drug consumption (tobacco, alcohol or a narcotic other than cannabis) as potential determinants of the experimentation, current usage of cannabis (at least once a month) and regular usage (at least once a week). Apart from the socio-demographic variables, these predictors were investigated by univariate and multivariate analysis (logistic regression). The analyses covered 744 students in Catholic high schools. Results showed that 30.2\% of students had tried to smoke cannabis and 50\% of them continued to smoke it at least during the previous month. Age, number of income in the family, strong peer group integration [OR 7.7; CI 95\% (3.5;17.3)] and drug-consumption habit [for example, tobacco use: OR 7.4; CI 95\% (4.8;11.32)] were associated with cannabis experimentation. Age, gender, nationality, average family integration [OR 2.13; CI 95\% (1.1;4.1)] and other drugs use as addiction to nicotine [OR 9.5; CI 95\% (5.6;16.3)] determined the current consumption of the substance. Preventive action should aim at improving the teenager's integration into the family circle in order to prevent the trial and consumption of cannabis. In addition, prevention should include the consumption of (addictive) substances in general.
This article was published in Int J Adolesc Med Health
and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education