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Perception of Risks Associated with Drug Use

User Information
The perception of risk is closely associated with ?beliefs about negative consequences?. However, because of the attention given to the risk concept it merits separate treatment. In the example below the risk associated with occasional vs. frequent use are examined. This could be developed in other ways like specifying frequency or context in which drugs might be used. Please bear in mind that in the instrument on Perception of Risks Associated with drug use a low score means a high level of awareness.
Relevant Studies
Reducing the risk of drug involvement
Harrmon, M.A. (1993). Reducing the risk of drug involvement among early adolescents: An evaluation of drug abuse resistance education (DARE). Evaluation Review, 17, 221 - 239.

The study by Harmon (1993) examined the effectiveness of the DARE programme in South Carolina, by comparing 341 fifth grade students to a comparable control group. Significant differences were found for belief in pro-social norms, association with drug using peers, positive peer association, attitudes to substance use and assertiveness. No differences were found however, on tobacco and alcohol use, in the last year or during the last month. The You and Your School Questionnaire were used to measure DARE objectives, and other factors associated with drug use. The questionnaire consists of 10 scales including Belief in pro-social norms, Social Integration, Commitment to school, Rebellious behaviour, Peer drug modelling, Attitudes against substance use, Attachment to school, Self-esteem, Assertiveness and Positive peer modelling.

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: Wednesday, 21 July 2004