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There is considerable evidence that 'intention' is a powerful predictor of later use. Some of the work in this area derives from the 'Theory of Planned Action' which has been extremely useful in the area of substance use. Intentions can also be a useful measure at a relatively young age when measures of use might not be very sensitive.
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Relevant Studies
Protective and risk factors in problem behaviour including drug use
Jessor, R., Van Den Bos, J., Vanderryn, J., Costa, F.M., & Turbin, M.S. (1995). Protective factors in adolescent problem behaviour: Moderator effects and developmental change. Developmental Psychology, 31, 923-933.

This study investigated drug use as part of a syndrome of problem behaviour including delinquency and sexual precocity. The study investigated the role of protective as well as risk factors in relation to such behaviour. Six protective factors were measured including positive orientation to school, positive orientation to health, intolerance of deviance, positive relation with adults perceived regulatory controls, and friend models for conventional behaviour. Risk factors included low expectation of success, low self-esteem, disengagement from societal norms, friend models for problem behaviour, and low grade point average.

The measure of problem behaviour was by means of the Multiple Problem Behaviour Index (MPBI). This included four areas of adolescent problem behaviour including drinking, delinquency, marijuana involvement, and sexual experience. The measures of marijuana involvement include lifetime use, frequency of use, and the number of times being high.

Page last updated: Thursday, 15 July 2004