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Decision Making Skills

User Information
The measurement of decision making skills is particularly relevance where programme emphasises personal decisions and the effort to equip young people with the skills to withstand social pressures. Please bear in mind that in the instruments on Decision Making Skills a low score means a high level of decision making skills.
Relevant Studies
Dealing with peer pressure and establishing conservative norms
Hansen, W.B., & Graham J.W. (1991). Preventing alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use among adolescents: Peer pressure versus establishing conservative norms. Preventive Medicine, 20, 414-430.

Two strategies for preventing the onset of drug abuse were tested in junior high schools. The first strategy taught skills to refuse offers while the second strategy involved the correction of wrong impressions about prevalence and acceptability of use among peers and established conservative norms of use. There were significant effects for both legal and illegal drugs for the strategy involving establishment of conservative norms, while teaching students to refuse offers had no discernible effects on substance use behaviours. Drug use measures were lifetime prevalence and 30 day prevalence.

Judgements about substance use
Nucci, L., Guerra, N., & Lee, J. (1991). Adolescent judgements of the personal, prudential and normative aspects of drug usage. Developmental Psychology, 27, 841-848.

This study was concerned with the relationship between drug use and judgements about moral judgements, specifically whether use of a given substance was a morality, societal convention, personal prerogative or prudential judgements. High drug users as well as low drug users were inclined to view drug use as a matter of personal discretion or prudence rather than an issue of morality or social convention. Frequent drug users were also more likely to view drug use as a personal rather than a prudential issue and to view the behaviour as less harmful and less wrong. They were also more likely to view themselves as the only authority with regard to drug use and less likely to view parents or the law as authorities. The study contains a range of items on moral judgements and items on the wrongs of various behaviours.

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'.


Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004