Online Program

Does healthy living and positive health values influence adolescent substance use? a 1 year longitudinal investigation among italian adolescents

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Enrique Ortega, Phd MPH, Health Sciences, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
Emanuela Rabaglietti, PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Molly Brennan, Department of Health Sciences, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
Background: Recent figures indicate that Italian adolescents report some of the highest substance use rates in Europe. This study investigated the potential associations of the value of personal health, and commonly used predisposing variables such as aggression and sensation seeking to Italian adolescent substance use. Methods: The sample consisted of 302 Italian high school adolescents (48% female), ages 15-19 years (mean age = 17.4 (S.D. = 1.4)), living in the northwest of Italy. The participants were representative of the population of adolescents attending high school in this part of Italy. Regarding relevant structural indicators, this sample was comparable to the general Italian population. Linear regressions were used to explore the associations of among our variables of interest utilizing two waves of data. Age, gender, peer substance use, and substance use at baseline were used as covariates in the analysis. Results: Results indicated greater aggressive behaviors (β = 1.11, p < 0.001), amount of time spent doing physical exercises (β = .98, p < 0.001), and lower value placed on health associated with concurrent marihuana use. Only peer use of marihuana was found to be associated with marihuana use one year later (β = 1.03, p < 0.05). Conclusions: This study presents findings which could be used to inform adolescent substance use interventions aimed at increasing general health values and practices focused on healthy living. Further research is needed which can further elucidate the influence and interactions of potential biological predisposing factors with health values on specific substance use.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify general healthy values and practices associated with substance use. Explain possible causes of adolescent substance use involvement. Differentiate possible US and European adolescent substance use correlates.

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research assistant for a research group that has received funding for multiple project grants and which has a strong record of peer reviewed publications in the area of child and adolescent health behaviors. My scientific interests concern the topics under consideration in this abstract (International/Global Health), which are the basis for my statistical and research methods training. I am responsible to prepare this research for a scientific peer reviewed manuscript.
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.