Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 146–155 | Cite as

Student Drug Testing in the Context of Positive and Negative School Climates: Results from a National Survey

  • Sharon R. SznitmanEmail author
  • Sally M. Dunlop
  • Priya Nalkur
  • Atika Khurana
  • Daniel Romer
Empirical Research


Positive school climates and student drug testing have been separately proposed as strategies to reduce student substance use in high schools. However, the effects of drug testing programs may depend on the favorability of school climates. This study examined the association between school drug testing programs and student substance use in schools with different climates. The analysis was based on a nationally representative sample of 943 high school students (48% female) ranging from 14 to 19 years of age (62% identifying as white, 18% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 7% in other categories). Results showed that both male and female students in schools with positive climates reported lower levels of personal substance use. Drug testing was associated with lower levels of personal substance use in positive school climates, but only for female students. There was no relationship between drug testing and male students’ substance use. The results are discussed in terms of the importance of considering school climates before implementing drug-testing programs in high schools.


Adolescence Student drug testing School climate Substance use 


Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human subject approval statement

The Institutional Review Board of the University of Pennsylvania approved the survey.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon R. Sznitman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sally M. Dunlop
    • 2
  • Priya Nalkur
    • 3
  • Atika Khurana
    • 4
  • Daniel Romer
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.School of Public HealthThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.The Heller School of Social Policy and ManagementBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA
  4. 4.Annenberg Public Policy Centre, Adolescent Communication InstituteUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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