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Illicit drug use in English adolescent students–Results of a subgroup mediation analyses

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
  • Poonum Wilkhu
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>29/08/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Substance Use
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date29/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper builds on the results from the study: Illicit drug use in English adolescent students – results of a cumulative mediation analyses. The study sets out to specify the most significant social learning (SL) pathways for each of the ages, regions, and gender.

Mediation analyses of a secondary dataset: Smoking Drinking Drug Use Survey 2016 (N = 12,051) on adolescents aged 11–15 years.

The most important SL pathway to drug use for boys was imitation of friends and for girls it was having the “perception” that fellow peers were consuming drugs. Positive attitudes to glue was a strong SL pathway at ages 11 and 12 but not for ages 13–15 years. In the Northern parts of England positive attitudes to cannabis and in the Southern regions peer association were the strongest SL pathways to drug use.

The results are of relevance to policy because they confirm that drug use is a learnt behaviour and that this learnt behaviour varies for gender, region and specific ages.