Online Program

Adolescent caffeine use and violence: A gender-specific exploration

Monday, November 4, 2013

Alfgeir Kristjansson, PhD, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Inga Dora Sigfusdottir, PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University and Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis. Reykjavik University, Iceland, New York City, NY
Stephanie S. Frost, PhD, MAOM, Health Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Jack E James, PhD, Reykjavik University, Reykjavik, Iceland
Adolescent caffeine consumption has increased greatly in recent years but the consequences of their use are not well understood. Recently the relationship between adolescent caffeine use and other forms of drug use has received increased attention. Overall, a positive association has been found between caffeine and other forms of drug use among adolescents, although the context of this relationship is still not clear. Another genre of inquiry has received less attention and that is the association between adolescent caffeine use and delinquent behavioral outcomes such as violence. The relationship between other forms of substance use and violence has been well documented. The question whether caffeine, a nervous system stimulant, plays a role in explaining violent behaviors among adolescents while taking account of other drug use, has yet to be studied. We analyze the latest in the series of population survey data from the Youth in Iceland studies among 10th grade adolescents (15-16 year olds), that are conducted by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (N= 3,670, girls = 50.7%). Through structural equation modeling we show that caffeine adds significantly to the explanation of the relationship between substance use and violent behavior. Part of this association is mediated through anger. The relationship between caffeine and anger as well caffeine and violent behaviors is stronger for girls than boys. We discuss these findings in the light of latest studies into caffeine consumption among adolescent girls and boys and provide directions for future inquiries in the field.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the prevalence of caffeine use among 10th grade adolescents. Assess the explanatory power of caffeine in predicting adolescent violent behavior. Compare the relationship of caffeine with violent behavior between adolescent girls and boys.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Drugs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of multiple international research projects on adolescent health and development during last 10 years. I have received funding from various agencies in my home country, Iceland, as well as abroad. My scientific interest concern adolescent health behavior and promotion from a societal and contextual perspective.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.