Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Parents who quit smoking and their adult children’s smoking cessation: a 20-year follow-up study

Research (via the SHEU) which looks at parent’s influence on children’s smoking behaviour found that:

parents’ early smoking cessation has a long-term influence on their adult children’s smoking cessation. Parents who smoke should be encouraged to quit when their children are young.

Filed under: research, tobacco, USA

Fathers’ Alcohol Use and Substance Use among Adolescents

Ahead of Father’s Day this weekend the US government have published findings which link father’s drinking habbits to their children’s substance use.

They argue:

Alcohol use among fathers, even at levels not sufficient to warrant a diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, is associated with several substance use behaviors and disorders among the adolescent children who live with them. These findings highlight the continuing need to educate fathers, mothers, and family support systems professionals about the potential impact of paternal alcohol use on adolescent substance use. In addition, these findings suggest the importance of providing treatment for fathers with alcohol use disorders and family support services for children of these fathers.

Filed under: alcohol, parents, USA

Are both parents always better than one?

A piece of American research into the associations between adolescent family experiences and young adult well-being has been picked up by the Guardian and Telegraph, both of whom report the finding that where there is “high conflict” between parents the young people in the family are more likely to use drugs and become sexually active at a young age.

The paper these stories are drawn from can be downloaded here and whose abstract says:

Findings suggest that exposure to parental conflict in adolescence is associated with poorer academic achievement, increased substance use, and early family formation and dissolution, often in ways indistinguishable from living in a stepfather or singlemother family. Income and parenting largely do not account for these associations. While children tend to do better living with two biological married parents, the advantages of twoparent families are not shared equally by all.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: parents, research, USA

Early tobacco smoking in adolescents with externalizing disorders: Inferences for reward function

Research from America into risk factors around smoking:

Factors that confer risk for chronic smoking include psychiatric factors, such as externalizing disorders, and potentially related neurobiological substrates, such as reward function. The present study examined the relationship between the externalizing disorders and the temporal progression of smoking among adolescent smokers.

The research found:

Adolescents with an externalizing disorder consumed more tobacco in the first 2 years of smoking than those without a disorder. There were no differences in speed of progression between groups, which may index a distinct functional pattern of reward systems that confers vulnerability for tobacco dependence.

Filed under: research, tobacco, USA

Students’ perception of community disapproval, perceived enforcement of school antismoking policies, personal beliefs, and their cigarette smoking behaviors

New research from America into the impact of school’s tobacco policies and young people’s smoking in Nicotine and Tobacco Research (see the abstract here).

The results seem promising:

Structural equation modeling indicated that perceived enforcement of school policy was directly and positively related to perceived community norms. In addition, adolescents’ personal beliefs appeared to mediate the relationship between perceived enforcement of school antismoking policies and past-30-day cigarette smoking. School policies, in turn, partially mediated the relationship between community norms and smoking beliefs.

Filed under: research, tobacco, USA

Long-Term Effects of Drug Prevention on Risky Sexual Behavior Among Young Adults

The Journal of Adolescent Health has a study looking at the impact of Project ALERT, a school based drug prevention programme, on sexual behaviour amongst sexually active young people.

They found:

Compared to control, Project ALERT reduced the likelihood of all risky sex outcomes except inconsistent condom use among these sexually active young adults, effects that occurred 5 and 7 years after program exposure. Program effects were partially mediated by reductions in alcohol and drug abuse. There were no significant differences in program effects by gender or by program duration compared to control.

More details can be found on the RAND site which did the research.  Their press release says:

The study found that youth exposed to a drug abuse education program were significantly less likely as young adults to either engage in sex with multiple partners or to have unprotected sex because of drug and alcohol use than their peers who had not received the training.

However, researchers found that those who received drug prevention training were no more likely to use condoms consistently than their peers who did not receive the training.

They conclude:

Although the effects we found are somewhat modest, these findings show that the benefits of drug abuse prevention programs are not confined to drug use alone and can continue for many years after young people receive the instruction.

Update: Drug and Alcohol Findings took a look at ALERT in 2005 and said:

Rare for an early adolescence school programme to aim for harm reduction, very rare in the USA. In the face of patchy outcomes, Project ALERT re-focused on reducing harm, and found the intended improvements in smoking and drinking risk reductions.

Filed under: research, USA

Relationship Between Neighborhood Context, Family Management Practices and Alcohol Use Among Urban, Multi-ethnic, Young Adolescents

New American research into how neighbourhoods and family interaction impact on alcohol use amongst urban young people.  The abstract says:

We examined relationships between alcohol-related neighborhood context, protective home and family management practices, and alcohol use among urban, racial/ethnic minority, adolescents.

They conclude:

Results suggest inner-city parents respond to environmental risk, such that as neighborhood risk increases, so also do protective home and family management practices. Parent engagement in restricting alcohol access and improving family management practices may be key to preventive efforts to reduce alcohol use.

Filed under: alcohol, parents, research, USA

Alcohol-Branded Merchandise and Its Association With Drinking Attitudes and Outcomes in US Adolescents

Via the SHEU.

The Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine includes the abstract of research showing the link between alcohol branded merchandise and adolescent attitudes towards drinking as well as drinking behaviour.  They say:

Alcohol-branded merchandise is widely distributed among US adolescents, who obtain the items one-quarter of the time through direct purchase at retail outlets. Among never-drinkers, ABM ownership is independently associated with susceptibility to as well as with initiation of drinking and binge drinking.

Read more about this study on the Science Blog.

Filed under: alcohol, research, USA

Exposure to Substance Use Prevention Messages and Substance Use among American Adolescents: 2002 to 2007

nsduhThe US Government has published a report on their analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They argue:

Gaining a better understanding of how many and which types of adolescents receive prevention messages and programs through each of the many potential sources is essential for the development of effective prevention programming.

The report says that young people in America have seen a reduction in their exposure to prevention messages through media sources and out of school settings, but have had more conversations with their parents about drugs, and the same recall of school based lessons.

It appears that parents (and schools) reduce their discussions about drugs as the young people who took the survey grow older. Meanwhile the reverse was true of media messages.

The report goes on to look at the relationship between being exposed to prevention messages and the use of substances:

Adolescents who reported having conversations with parents about the dangers of substance use were less likely than those who did not have such conversations to have been past month users of cigarettes (10.6 vs. 12.5 percent), alcohol (16.2 vs. 18.3 percent), and illicit drugs (9.5 vs. 11.7 percent).

They found a similar relationship between those who recalled messages from school (much as the Information Centre’s annual report on substance misuse finds amongst English pupils). The authors say:

This report also reinforces findings from previous studies that emphasize the impact of parental and school involvement on the prevention of substance use. The prevalence of substance use was lower among adolescents exposed to prevention messages through parental and school sources than among those who were not exposed.

However, they warn American policy makers against complacency pointing out that 30% of young people don’t recall prevention messages in school and 40% saying they hadn’t had a conversation with a parent about drugs.

Filed under: drug education, USA

Evaluating Mediation in Longitudinal Multivariate Data: Mediation Effects for the Aban Aya Youth Project Drug Prevention Program

cover-mediumPrevention Science have a paper out about the impact of the Aban Aya Youth Project. The researchers say that previous studies had shown that the project had been successful in reducing the growth in a number of negative behaviours including substance use amongst African American teenagers.  This study hoped to show that the effect of the programme on substance use were achieved through changes in processes; such as behavioural intentions, estimates of peers and best friends behaviours and peer pressure.

The researchers found that:

Results showed that the AAYP [Aban Aya Youth Project] intervention effects on adolescent drug use were mediated by normative beliefs of prevalence estimates, friends’ drug use behavior, perceived friends’ encouragement to use, and attitudes toward the behavior.

Read the abstract.

Filed under: drug prevention, research, USA

About this blog

This blog tries to pick up relevant media and research stories about drug education. It mainly focuses on information in England as this is the geographical remit for the Drug Education Forum. We welcome comments that are on topic.

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July 2021