Online Program

How Perceptions of School Policies Affect Student Alcohol Use

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Heather Fay, MHS, Program Services, FCD Prevention Works, Newton, MA
Desirae Vasquez, MHS, Program Services, FCD Educational Services, Newton, MA
OBJECTIVE: To examine how students’ perceptions of their school’s alcohol and other drug policies relate to their own alcohol use.

METHODS: From years 2009 to 2014, a school-based survey was conducted among approximately 38,000 9th-12th-grade students, in 24 countries. Students self-reported alcohol use, as well as perceptions of their school’s alcohol and other drug policies and the enforcement of those policies. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between perceptions of school policies and student alcohol use.

RESULTS: Students who think the alcohol and other drug policies set by their school are “too strict” or “too lenient” are more likely to report using alcohol in the past year (OR: 1.1, 95% CI: 1.1, 1.2). Students who “don’t know” about their school’s policies are less likely to report having used alcohol in the past year (OR: 0.7, 95% CI: 0.6, 0.7).

CONCLUSION: School policy perceptions among students are a clear indication of not only their own attitudes about school climate, but also their own alcohol behavior within a 12-month period. Students who find their school policies unfair can be viewed within school communities as a higher-risk group of youth than those who accept and agree with community regulations. Preventative interventions for these youth can be set accordingly. A lack of student awareness for school alcohol and other drug policy is not a known risk for alcohol use, and may in fact be an indication of wellness.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate how school policies affect student alcohol use

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered