Background: A number of factors have been identified that protect adolescents or, alternatively, put them at risk for drug use and other high-risk behaviours. These factors concern different personal and environmental factors, e.g. the community, the school setting, family, peer group and individual characteristics.The aim of the present study was to examine the associations between risk and protective factors and adolescents’ use of alcohol and drugs. Methods: In both May 2003 and 2004, random samples of 4800 adolescents (a total of 9600) in Sweden were contacted and asked to fill out a questionnaire.It concerned use of alcohol and illicit drugs and a large number of adolescent risk and protective factors. A total of 5445 (57%) adolescents agreed to participate. Results: About 44% of the adolescents in grade 9 (15–16 years of age) had been drunk on at least one occasion and nearly 80% of those in grade 11 (17–18 years of age). Almost 15% in grade 9 and 40% in grade 11 had been drinking heavily during the previous month, and 4% in grade 9 and 12% in grade 11 had used cannabis. Strong associations were found between elevated individual, family, school and community risk factors and use of alcohol and drugs. Conversely, protective factors were negatively related to the use of alcohol and drugs. Conclusions: This study confirms the importance of risk and protective factors within different domains in explaining alcohol and drug use among adolescents. The results support efforts targeting multiple risk and protective factors in alcohol and drug preventive interventions for adolescents.
Keywords: adolescents; alcohol; drugs; prevention; protective factors; risk factors
Journal Article. 4590 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Economics of Health ; Health, Illness, and Medicine
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