, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 33-42

Associations of family environment and individual factors with tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use in adolescents

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Despite abundant literature the respective roles of psychosomatic status, personality, health perception, family environment, and sport activity in tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use have not been well known. To assess their roles, an epidemiological cross-sectional study was conducted in 3294 middle and high school adolescents, 2396 (73%) of whom agreed to participate. The standardized questionnaire was filled out by the teenagers under the supervision of the teachers. Strong associations were found between tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use. The prevalence of alcohol use and illicit drug use were respectively 7 and 10 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers. On the whole, the potential risk factors for tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use were age, psychosomatic status and psychotropic drug consumption, boring family atmosphere, not living with both father and mother, and health perception. Mother being a housewife was a protective factor. No marked role was noted for the head of family's socio-occupational category. Personality would be indicators of self-control ability. Indeed, some self-reported personalities (serious, attentive, calm, organized) had protection roles whereas some others (easily irritable, aggressive, worried, clumsy, careless, solitary, etc.) were risk factors (risk-taking or deviant behaviors). Some sports activities were found to be negatively related, but some others related positively with drug use, possibly due to repetitive meetings between the adolescents at risk. Preventive measures may be targeted at these risk factors.