The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3325.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 6

Abstract #55369

Perceived environment safety and substance use among Texas youths

Liang Y. Liu, PhD, Research and Evaluation, Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, PO Box 80529, Austin, TX 78750-0529, 512-349-6639,

This study examines the relationship between perceptions of safety (home, school, or neighborhood) and substance use in a statewide sample of Texas adolescents. Data from the 2002 Texas School Survey of Substance Use for 149,220 students in grades seven through twelve in 77 randomly selected school districts were used to analyze the prevalence and odds ratios of substance use associated with the perceived environment safety. Only 2% of students said their homes were not very safe or not safe at all, while 11% felt unsafe in their neighborhoods and 14% felt unsafe at school. Students who had used tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, or other illicit drugs were more likely than nonusers to feel less secure in their surroundings, although the relative importance in perceptions of safety varied across different environments. After controlling for sociodemographic and geographic variables, students with unsafe perceptions at home were two to three times as likely as those with safe sense at home to use substances in the past month. This relationship held for neighborhood and school setting as well, with less impact on some substances. Further logistic regression analyses revealed that perceived safety may be responsible for ethnic and age group differences in the likelihood of substance use. These findings reinforce the significance of safe environments on adolescent substance use and may help practitioners who develop school- and community-based prevention programs to adapt their efforts accordingly.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Patterns in Young Adult Drug Use and Risky Behaviors Poster Session

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA