WASHINGTON, DC, March 4, 2008 When national drug use trends among adolescents go up or down, the risk of marijuana use among deviance-prone male youth also goes up or down. Among deviance-prone female youth, it does not, according to a study in the March issue of Prevention Science.
The risk of marijuana use among deviance-prone boys is a reflection of the social acceptance of drug use among adolescents. The risk among deviance prone girls, however, does not change with shifts in the popularity of drug use. Deviance prone girls are just as likely to use marijuana during years of high and low national use.
The study, based on data collected from 44,751 students from the 12th grade from 1979 to 2004, also showed that deviance proneness is not only related to regular, more problematic use of marijuana, but is also related to occasional use of the drug.
Michelle Little, Ph.D., of the Prevention Research Center at Arizona State University in Tempe, who is the lead author of the study, said the findings are important for prevention programs.
Parents and teachers need to be aware that historically, even those teens that use marijuana occasionally have been more likely to show antisocial or risky behavior. Also it appears that adolescents social rejection of marijuana use has been a powerful drug-use deterrent. Therefore, to prevent drug use, we need to drive down social acceptance of marijuana use among all adolescents through a variety of media campaigns and risk-focused prevention programs. We should also combine that with drug use prevention programs targeted for deviance prone male and female teens, Little said.
The study measured deviance proneness based on a variety of factors, including criminal behavior, such as shop lifting or property damage; truancy; low pro-social commitments to school and religion; and thrill seeking. Regular marijuana use was defined as weekly marijuana use; occasional use was defined as up to three times per month. R
|Contact: Prabhu Ponkshe|
Society for Prevention Research