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School effects on young people's drug use: a systematic review of intervention and observational studies

Fletcher, Adam, Bonell, Chris and Hargreaves, James 2008. School effects on young people's drug use: a systematic review of intervention and observational studies. Journal of Adolescent Health 42 (3) , pp. 209-220. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2007.09.020

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Purpose: This systematic review examined the hypothesis that school institutional factors influence young people’s use of drugs. We aimed to (1) identify the effect of school-level changes on drug use and (2) explore the possible mechanisms by which school-level influences on individual drug use might occur. Methods: Systematic review. Experimental/quasi-experimental studies of “whole-school” drug prevention interventions and longitudinal observational studies on the association between school-level and individual-level school-related exposures and drug use were included. Experimental studies were included because they are the most reliable available source of evidence about causation. Observational studies of school-level and individual-level school-related exposures were included with the aim of providing evidence about a wider range of possible school-level effects and how school-level influences might be mediated by individual-level factors. Results: Experimental studies suggested that changes to the school social environment that increase student participation, improve relationships and promote a positive school ethos may be associated with reduced drug use. School-level and individual-level observational studies consistently reported that disengagement and poor teacher–student relationships were associated with drug use and other risky health behaviors. Conclusions: There is evidence of school effects on young people’s drug use. Interventions that promote a positive school ethos and reduce student disaffection may be an effective complement to drug prevention interventions addressing individual knowledge, skills, and peer norms. Such approaches should now be piloted in a wider range of settings. Further research is also needed to explore mechanisms by which schools may influence young people’s drug use.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: Substance misuse; Prevention; Adolescents; Schools; Systematic review
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 1054-139X
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 01:58

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