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Illicit substance use among university students from seven European countries: A comparison of personal and perceived peer use and personal and perceived peer attitudes towards illicit substance use

Helmer, S. M., Mikolajczyk, R. T., McAlaney, J., Vriesacker, B., van Hal, G., Akvardar, Yildiz, Guillen-Grima, F., Salonna, F., Stock, C., Dempsey, R. C., Bewick, Bridgette M and Zeeb, Hajo (2014) Illicit substance use among university students from seven European countries: A comparison of personal and perceived peer use and personal and perceived peer attitudes towards illicit substance use. Preventive Medicine, 67. pp. 204-209.

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Abstract or description

Objective

To compare European students’ personal use and approval of illicit substance use with their perceptions of peer behaviours and attitudes, and investigate whether perceptions of peer norms are associated with personal use of illicit substances and attitudes.

Method

This study used baseline data from the Social Norms Intervention for the prevention of Polydrug usE (SNIPE) project involving 4,482 students from seven European countries in 2012. Students completed an online survey which included questions on personal and perceived peer illicit substance use and personal and perceived peer attitude towards illicit substances.

Results

8.3% of students reported having used illicit substances at least once in their life. 29.9% of students perceived that the majority of their peers have used illicit substances more frequently than themselves. The perception was significantly associated with higher odds for personal illicit substance use (OR: 1.97, CI: 1.53-2.54). The perception that the majority of peers approve illicit substance use was significantly associated with higher odds for personal approval of illicit substance use (OR: 3.47, CI: 2.73-4.41).

Conclusion

Students commonly perceived that their peers used illicit drugs more often than themselves. We found an association between the perceived peer norms/attitudes and reported individual behaviour/attitudes.

Keywords

Illicit drugs; Students; Europe; Health behavior

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Faculty: Previous Faculty of Health Sciences > Psychology, Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Robert DEMPSEY
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2014 08:55
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2018 09:42
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/1939

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