Risk Factors

School Risk Factors

 

Academic Failure - Beginning in the late elementary grades (grades 4 - 6) academic failure increases the risk of both drug abuse and delinquency. It appears that the experience of failure itself, for whatever reasons, increases the risk of problem behaviors.

·   Putting them all together, what were your grades like last year?

·   Are your school grades better than the grades of most students in your class?

 

Lack of Commitment to School - Surveys of high school seniors have shown that the use of hallucinogens, cocaine, heroin, stimulants, and sedatives or non-medically prescribed tranquilizers is significantly lower among students who expect to attend college than among those who do not. Factors such as liking school, spending time on homework, and perceiving the coursework as relevant are also negatively related to drug use.

·   How often do you feel that the schoolwork you are assigned is meaningful and important?

·   How interesting are most of your courses to you?

·   How important do you think the things you are learning in school are going to be for your later life?

·   Now thinking back over the past year in school, how often did you:

(a)  enjoy being in school?

(b)  hate being in school?

(c)   try to do your best work in school?

·   During the LAST FOUR WEEKS how many whole days have you missed because you skipped or cut?

 

Peer/Individual Risk Factors

 

Friends Who Engage in the Problem Behavior - Young people who associate with peers who engage in alcohol or substance abuse are much more likely to engage in the same behavior. Peer drug use has consistently been found to be among the strongest predictors of substance use among youth. Even when young people come from well-managed families and do not experience other risk factors, spending time with friends who use drugs greatly increases the risk of that problem developing.

 

Friends Who Engage in ATOD Use (Peer Drug Use)

·   Think of your four best friends (the friends you feel closest to). In the past year (the last 12 months), how many of your best friends have:

(a) smoked cigarettes?

(b) tried beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey or gin) when their parents didn't know about it?

(c) used marijuana?

(d) used LSD, cocaine, amphetamines, or other illegal drugs?

 

Interactions with Antisocial Peers

·   Think of your four best friends (the friends you feel closest to). In the past year (the last 12 months), how many of your best friends have:

(e) been suspended from school?

(f) carried a handgun?

(g) sold illegal drugs?

(h) stolen or tried to steal a motor vehicle such as a car or motorcycle?

(i) been arrested?

(j) dropped out of school?

 

Favorable Attitudes Toward the Problem Behavior - Young people who accept or condone antisocial behavior are more likely to engage in a variety of problem behaviors, including drug use.

 

Attitudes Favorable Toward ATOD Use

·   How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to:

(a) drink beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey or gin) regularly (at least once or twice a month)?

(b) smoke cigarettes?

(c) smoke marijuana?

(d) use LSD, cocaine, amphetamines or another illegal drug?

 

Rewards for Antisocial Behavior (Antisocial Involvement)

·   What are the chances you would be seen as cool if you:

(a) smoked cigarettes?

(b) began drinking alcoholic beverages regularly (at least once or twice a month)?

(c) smoked marijuana?

(d) carried a handgun?

 

 

Attitudes Favorable Toward Antisocial Behavior

·   How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to:

(e) take a handgun to school?

(f) steal anything worth more than $5?

(g) pick a fight with someone?

(h) attack someone with the idea of seriously hurting them?

(i) stay away from school all day when their parents think they are at school?

 

Early Initiation of Problem Behavior - Early onset of drug use predicts misuse of drugs. The earlier the onset of any drug use, the greater the involvement in other drug use and the greater frequency of use. Onset of drug use prior to the age of 15 is a consistent predictor of drug abuse, and a later age of onset of drug use has been shown to predict lower drug involvement and greater probability of discontinuation of use.

 

Early Initiation of Drug Use

·   How old were you when you first:

(a) smoked marijuana?

(b) smoked a cigarette, even just a puff?

(c) had more than a sip or two of beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey, or gin)?

(d) began drinking alcoholic beverages regularly (at least once or twice a month)?

 

 

Early Initiation of Antisocial Behavior

·   How old were you when you first:

(a) got suspended from school?

(b) got arrested?

(c) carried a handgun?

(d) attacked someone with the idea of seriously hurting them?

 

Perceived Risks of Drug Use - Young people who do not perceive drug use to be risky are far more likely to engage in drug use.

·   How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they:

(a) Smoke one or more packs of cigarettes per day?

(b) Try marijuana once or twice?

(c) Smoke marijuana regularly?

(d) Take one or two drinks of an alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, liquor) nearly every day?

 

Community Risk Factors

 

Availability of Drugs, Alcohol and Firearms - The availability of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other illegal drugs has been related to use of these substances by adolescents. Availability of handguns is also related to a higher risk of crime and substance use by adolescents.

·   If you wanted to get some cigarettes, how easy would it be for you to get some?

·   If you wanted to get some marijuana, how easy would it be for you to get some?

·   If you wanted to get some beer, wine or hard liquor for example, vodka, whiskey, or gin, how easy would it be for you to get some?

·   If you wanted to get a drug like cocaine, LSD, or amphetamines, how easy would it be for you to get some?

 

Laws and Norms Favorable to Drug Use - Research has shown that legal restrictions on alcohol and tobacco use, such as raising the legal drinking age, restricting smoking in public places, and increased taxation have been followed by decreases in consumption. Moreover, national surveys of high school seniors have shown that shifts in normative attitudes toward drug use have preceded changes in prevalence of use.

·   If a kid smoked marijuana in your neighborhood, or the area around where you live, would he or she be caught by the police?

·   If a kid drank some beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey, or gin) in your neighborhood would he or she be caught by the police?

·   If a kid carried a handgun in your neighborhood, or the area around where you live, would he or she be caught by the police?

·   How wrong would most adults in your neighborhood, or the area around where you live, think it was for kids your age:

(a) to use marijuana?

(b) to drink alcohol?

(c) to smoke cigarettes?

 


 

Low Neighborhood Attachment and Community Disorganization - Low levels of bonding to the neighborhood are related to higher levels of juvenile crime and drug selling.  Neighborhoods with high population density, physical deterioration, and high rates of adult crime also have higher rates of juvenile crime and drug use.

 

Low Neighborhood Attachment

·   If I had to move, I would miss the neighborhood I now live in.

·   I like my neighborhood, or the area around where I live.

·   I would like to get out of my neighborhood, or the area around where I live.

 

Community Disorganization

·   I feel safe in my neighborhood, or the area around where I live.

·   How much does each of the following statements describe your neighborhood, or the area around where you live?

(a) crime and/or drug selling

(b) fights

(c) lots of empty or abandoned buildings

(e) lots of graffiti

 

Family Risk Factors

 

Family History of Antisocial Behavior - When children are raised in a family with a history of problem behaviors (e.g., violence or ATOD use), the children are more likely to engage in these behaviors. Children raised in families high in conflict, whether or not the children are directly involved in the conflict, appear at risk for both delinquency and drug use.

·   Has anyone in your family ever had a severe alcohol or drug problem?

·   Have any of your brothers or sisters ever:

(a) drunk beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey or gin)?

(b) smoked marijuana?

(c) smoked cigarettes?

(d) taken a handgun to school?

(e) been suspended or expelled from school?

·   About how many adults have you known personally who in the past year have:

(a) used marijuana, crack, cocaine, or other drugs?

(b) sold or dealt drugs?

(c) done other things that could get them in trouble with the police like stealing, selling stolen goods, mugging or assaulting others, etc.?

(d) gotten drunk or high?

 

Family Management Problems - Parents' failure to provide clear expectations, to monitor their children's behavior, use of inconsistent and/or unusually harsh or severe punishment with their children makes it more likely that they will engage in drug abuse whether or not there are family drug problems.

 

Family Management

·   The rules in my family are clear.

·   My parents ask if I've gotten my homework done.

·   When I am not at home, one of my parents knows where I am and whom I am with.

·   Would your parents know if you did not come home on time?

·   My family has clear rules about alcohol and drug use.

·   If you carried a handgun without your parents' permission, would you be caught by your parents?

·   If you skipped school without your parents' permission, would you be caught by your parents?

·   If you drank some beer or wine or liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey, or gin) without your parents' permission, would you be caught by your parents?

 

Family Conflict - Young people who feel that they are a valued part of their family are less likely to engage in substance use and other problem behaviors.

·   People in my family often insult or yell at each other.

·   People in my family have serious arguments.

·   We argue about the same things in my family over and over.

 

Favorable Parental Attitudes and Involvement in the Problem Behavior - In families where parents use illegal drugs, are heavy users of alcohol, or are tolerant of children's use, children are more likely to become drug abusers during adolescence. The risk is further increased if parents involve children in their own drug (or alcohol) using behavior, for example, asking the child to light the parent's cigarette or get the parent a beer form the refrigerator.

 

Favorable Parental Attitudes Toward Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use

·   How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to:

(a) drink beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey or gin) regularly (at least once or twice a month)?

(b) smoke cigarettes?

(c) smoke marijuana?

 

Favorable Parental Attitudes Toward Antisocial Behavior

·   How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to:

(d) steal anything worth more than $5?

(e) draw graffiti, write things or draw pictures on buildings or other property (without the owner's permission)?

(f) pick a fight with someone?