9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Additted Behaviour Building II, B2.02

Analysis of drug use patterns among Latvian youth within the framework of risk and protective factors

The paper presents an analysis of the use of (and initial experimentation with) addictive substances among youth, which is based on the results of two waves of the survey project ECAD (European Cities against Drugs), in the framework of program "Youth in Europe: Youth and well-being" which was conducted in 2006 and 2008. In particular, we identify the role of several risk and protective factors in the incidence and continued prevalence of drug use among 15-16-year-old high school students.

Among the important recent developments in the theory and practice of addiction prevention is the focus on risk and protective factors as the cornerstones of every prevention program. These factors act as both targets to be shaped by the program and as indicators to be used for evaluation. The framework is useful for describing the diversity of factors that act and interact to determine the incidence of the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, as well it allows to analyse adolescent behaviours in the context of various influences. Grounding on approx. 300 variables factor analysis was performed separately for each domain of risk and protective factors. To isolate the direct effect of each factor and to determine the relative importance of various factors, multiple logistic regressions were used. The regular smoking, binge drinking and illicit drug were employed as the dependent variables, while the list of independent variables consisted of more than 70 individual-level, peer-level, school-level, neighbourhood-level, environmental and family-level factors.

The results of survey data analysis highlight the most important protective factors, which should be strengthened and facilitated in the development of addiction prevention programs, as well as point out the risk factors that should be inhibited in order to shield our new generation from addictive behaviours that are detrimental to its development and health. The knowledge obtained is a useful source of information for anyone involved in the protection of youth from harmful effects of psychoactive substances.