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Margins of Prevention: - On Older Adolescents' Positive and Negative Beliefs about Illicit Drug Use
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study explores older adolescents’ positive and negative beliefs about illicit drug use from a preventive perspective. By positive beliefs is meant positive expectancies and benefit perceptions. By negative beliefs is meant negative expectancies and risk perceptions. The choice of studying beliefs originates from the assumption that there is much to gain for prevention in considering the target audience’s starting point. An appraisal of the extent to which positive and negative beliefs are held suggests the margins for change.

The data used for the study derive from a survey conducted among a sample of third-year students in upper secondary school in the greater Stockholm area (n=2104). Overall, findings demonstrate that high negative beliefs are held and that positive beliefs to some extent are held. While this being the general trend, marked differences emerge between individuals who have used illicit drugs and individuals who have not. By and large, experienced individuals rate the negative sides as lower and the positive sides as higher than the other group. Substantial differences are found among lifetime users of illicit drugs as well. Those who have used illicit drugs more frequently during the last 12 months differ in particular from those who have refrained during this period. The differences are dramatic in some cases. In addition, consistent differences are documented between the sexes. Males are found to hold lower negative beliefs and higher positive beliefs across most measures employed. Few systematic relationships are found between other variables and outcomes.

Plausible explanations for the findings are discussed theoretically and potential implications for drug prevention are highlighted. A saturation hypothesis is introduced in order to accentuate that the overall room for change in negative beliefs probably is limited. Conversely, the fact that positive beliefs are held to a certain degree suggests a belief domain with change potential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för socialt arbete - Socialhögskolan , 2006.
Stockholm studies in social work, ISSN 0281-2851 ; 23
Keyword [en]
Illicit drugs, adolescents, prevention, margins for change, beliefs, perceptions, expectancies, positive, negative, risk, pleasure, Sweden
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1351ISBN: 91-7155-343-6OAI: diva2:189929
Public defence
2006-12-15, Aula Svea, Socialhögskolan, Sveaplan, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2006-11-21 Created: 2006-11-21Bibliographically approved

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