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Perception of Social Support/Order

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It has been found that degree of perceived social support from parents and friends is a restraining factor in relation to drugs. Thus, a measure of this may indicate whether a programme brought about this outcome. Please bear in mind that in the instruments on perception of Social Support / Order a low score means a high level of social support.
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.

Interaction of influences of adolescent drug use
Mounts, N.S., & Steinberg, L. (1995). An ecological analysis of peer influence on adolescent grade point average and drug use. Developmental Psychology, 31, 915-922.

This study examined the interactive effects of peer risk factors and parenting style on drug use. Two samples of 500 9-11th grade students participated in a longitudinal study and they and their friends provided reports of school grades and substance use. It was found that both changes in school performance and changes in drug use were influenced by friends. It was also found that the deleterious impact of having a drug-using friend is stronger among adolescents who parents are less authoritative.

The assessment of drug use in this study combined students' alcohol, marijuana and other drugs into a single scale. Participants were asked to report 'How often in the last six months they had used (marijuana)' Four response options were given ranging from 'never' to 'very often'. The internal reliability of the scale was .86.

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