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Bonding to Conventional Institutions

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There is a good deal of evidence that bonding to institutions (family, school, community, religion, police) is a restraining factor in substance use. Such measures would be special importance in programmes that try to increase identification with such institutions.
Relevant Studies
How does drug prevention work?
Ellickson, P.L., Bell, R.M., & Harrison, E.R. (1993). Changing adolescent propensities to use drugs: Results from project Alert. Health Education Quarterly, 20, 227-242.

Ellickson et al. (1993) report an examination of the impact of Project ALERT on the intervening (cognitive) variables hypothesised to affect actual drug use. These variables included adolescent beliefs in their ability to resist, perceived consequences of use, normative perceptions about peer use and tolerance of drugs as well as expectations of further use. A survey of more than 4000 7th and 8th graders revealed effects of the programme for perceptions assumed to be linked to each target substance (alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana) across all subjects and for those at different levels of risk for future use. It seemed that the curriculum successfully reduced cognitive risk factors from each of the above categories for cigarettes and marijuana, indicating that social influence programmes can impact a broad range of beliefs associated with the propensity to use drugs.

Self-perceptions, religiosity and substance use
Gorsuch, R.L. (1995). Religious aspects of substance abuse and recovery. Journal of Social Issues, 51, 65-83.

This study reviews the relationship between religiousness and substance use. Some of the research suggests that religiousness is associated with lower substance use because religious people have been socialised to accept anti-drug norms and have a mechanism for satisfying needs for social contact and meaning in life. However, the relationship occurs only a nurturing and supportive religiosity and not for a restrictive, negativistic, and ritualistic form of religiosity. Despite the consistency of this finding, it is interesting that its influence is cited rather infrequently in explanations of substance use. There are a number of prevention studies that have targeted religion and at least some have been successful (Mitchel et al., 1984). From the viewpoint of measurement, the most relevant aspect may be the intrinsic vs. extrinsic measure of religiosity which has been developed by Gorsuch.

Social support and drug use
Wills, T.A., & Cleary, S.D. (1996). How are social support effects mediated? A test with parental support and adolescent substance use. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 937-952.

This research tested how the effects of parental emotional and instrumental support on marijuana use in adolescence, is mediated. Data were drawn from a sample of 1,700 US 7th-9th grade students. The main finding was that parental support had a restraining effect on substance use. The measures included in the study are: (i) parental support, (ii) negative life events, (iii) affective states, (iv) perceived competence, (v) deviance prone attitudes, (vi) coping dimensions, (vii) esteem and control, (viii) family substance use, (ix) peer substance use, (x) adolescent substance use. The item measuring marijuana was 'How often do you smoke marijuana', with responses on six point scales as follows, 'never used', 'tried once or twice', 'used four to five times', 'usually use a few times a month' 'usually use a few times a week', and 'usually use every day'.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004