European Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 166, Issue 1, pp 29–35 | Cite as

Do male and female adolescents differ in the effect of individual and family characteristics on their use of psychotropic drugs?

  • Michèle Baumann
  • Elisabeth Spitz
  • Rosemay Predine
  • Marie Choquet
  • Nearkasen Chau
Original Paper


This study assesses the effects of individual and family characteristics on psychotropic drug use among male and female adolescents. The sample included 2,396 subjects attending two middle schools and two high schools. Respondents completed self-administered questionnaires covering gender, age, body mass index, smoking, alcohol use, illicit drug use, tiredness during the daytime, self-reported personality traits, family conditions, and psychotropic drug use. The data were analyzed using logistic models. The prevalence of frequent psychotropic drug use (for headache, tiredness, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia) was 43.0% overall; twice as high among girls than boys. Among the girls, frequent psychotropic drug use was associated with frequent tiredness during the daytime (adjusted odds ratio OR 2.03, 95% CI 1.61–2.57), smoking (2.02, 1.50–2.71), alcohol use (1.34, 1.04–1.74), higher body mass index (>18 kg/m2, 1.54, 1.16–2.04), poor family atmosphere (1.33, 1.03–1.72), and being worried (1.93, 1.53–2.43) or easily becoming irritable (1.28, 1.01–1.62). In boys the factors with significant ORs were frequent tiredness during the daytime (2.21, 1.67–2.93), alcohol use (1.52, 1.15–2.01), and being worried (1.70, 1.28–2.26) or easily becoming irritable (1.42, 1.06–1.89); univariate analysis revealed a significant relationship with smoking and family atmosphere. An association was also observed for illicit drugs in both sexes and for age≥17 years in girls. Individual and family characteristics have marked influence on psychotropic drug use among both male and female adolescents. Preventive measures should be taken to make adolescents and their parents more aware of the risks and to improve their living conditions.


Psychotropic drug use Adolescents Sex Tiredness Family atmosphere Smoking habit Alcohol use Personality Body weight 



The authors would like to thank A. d’Houtaud, E. Aptel, B. Mergel, E. Berton, P. Pierre, R. Franiatte, Y. Charron, F. Willer, J.P. Thirion, M.L. Thirion, N. Jurin, C. Mathis, F. Claudin, E. Predine, L. Benamghar, J.P. Michaely, D. Saouag, M. Weiss, M. Depesme, B. Phélut, J. Ciccone, N. Lorentz, and teachers of the schools for their help.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michèle Baumann
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Spitz
    • 2
  • Rosemay Predine
    • 3
  • Marie Choquet
    • 4
  • Nearkasen Chau
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Integrative Research Unit Individual and Social Development, Faculty LSHASEUniversity of LuxembourgLuxembourgLuxembourg
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MetzMetzFrance
  3. 3.Inserm, U420, WHO Collaborative CentreVandoeuvre-lès-NancyFrance
  4. 4.Inserm, U669, PSIGIAM “Paris Sud Innovation Group in Adolescent Mental Health”ParisFrance
  5. 5.Inserm, U669HeillecourtFrance

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