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Swedish high-school pupils’ attitudes towards drugs in relation to drug usage, impulsiveness and other risk factors

Journal article
Authors Fariba Mousavi
Danilo Garcia
Alexander Jimmefors
Trevor Archer
Béatrice Ewald-Kvist
Published in PeerJ
Volume 2
Pages e410
ISSN 2167-8359
Publication year 2014
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Department of Psychology
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages e410
Language en
Keywords Drugs, Attitudes towards drugs, Impulsivity, Risk factor for drug use
Subject categories Psychiatry, Psychology


Background. Illicit drug use influences people’s lives and elicits unwanted behaviour. Current research shows that there is an increase in young people’s drug use in Sweden. The aim was to investigate Swedish high-school pupils’ attitudes, impulsiveness and gender differences linked to drug use. Risk and protective factors relative to drug use were also a focus of interest. Method. High school pupils (n = 146) aged 17–21 years, responded to the Adolescent Health and Development Inventory, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and Knowledge, and the Attitudes and Beliefs. Direct logistic, multiple regression analyses, and Multivariate Analysis of Variance were used to analyze the data. Results. Positive Attitudes towards drugs were predicted by risk factors (odds ratio = 37.31) and gender (odds ratio = .32). Risk factors (odds ratio = 46.89), positive attitudes towards drugs (odds ratio = 4.63), and impulsiveness (odds ratio = 1.11) predicted drug usage. Risk factors dimensions Family, Friends and Individual Characteristic were positively related to impulsiveness among drug users. Moreover, although boys reported using drugs to a greater extent, girls expressed more positive attitude towards drugs and even reported more impulsiveness than boys. Conclusion. This study reinforces the notion that research ought to focus on gender differences relative to pro-drug attitudes along with testing for differences in the predictors of girls’ and boys’ delinquency and impulsiveness. Positive attitudes towards drugs among adolescents seem to be part of a vicious circle including risk factors, such as friendly drug environments (e.g., friends who use drugs) and unsupportive family environments, individual characteristics, and impulsiveness.

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