skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 201716 Find in a Library
Title: Family Risk Factors for Cannabis Use: A Population-based Survey of Australian Secondary School Students
Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review  Volume:22  Issue:2  Dated:June 2003  Pages:143-152
Author(s): C. A. Olsson; C. Coffey; J. W. Toumbourou; L. Bond; L. Thomas; G. Patton
Editor(s): John B. Saunders
Date Published: June 2003
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study investigated relationships between adolescent cannabis use and indices of parent-child attachment, family functioning, and parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency in a sample of high school students in Victoria, Australia.
Abstract: Cannabis use typically commences during adolescence with the heaviest use in late adolescence and young adulthood. Studies indicate a range of factors associated with licit and illicit drug use, among them are parent drug use, social norms favorable to drug use, availability of drugs, and attachment to drug-using populations. Previous studies of the role of family life in adolescent substance use have typically focused on family cohesion, family structure, parent-child communication, parent-child attachment, and parent attitudes to drug use. The purpose of this study was to examine risk relationships between adolescent cannabis use and (a) the quality of the parent-child relationship, (b) the nature of parent attitudes to drug use and delinquency, and (c) the degree of family cohesion and functioning. Data were obtained from the early (year 7), mid (year 9), and late (year 11) secondary school students recruited to participate in the Adolescent Health and Well-Being Survey (AHWS) during 1999 in Victoria, Australia. A two-stage cluster sampling was conducted and two different approaches to sampling schools were used for the metropolitan and rural areas. Demographic variables used included gender, parental place of birth, language other than English spoken at home, parents unemployed, and non-intact family. Cannabis use was based on self-reported frequency. Complete data on all variables included in the analysis were available for 2,848 (91 percent) year 9 students and 2,363 (94 percent) year 11 students. Forty-four percent of the year 9 students were male, and 43 percent of the year 11 students were male. Results of the analysis include male and female students in year 9 reported similar levels of cannabis use in the last 30 days, while males reported weekly use more frequently than females. For year 11 students, the prevalence of any cannabis use in the last 30 days and weekly cannabis use was similar for males and females. When both parents were born outside Australia and when a language other than English was spoken at home, students in both years 9 and 11 were less likely to have used cannabis in the last 30 days. For both year levels, there was no evidence of association between cannabis use in the last 30 days and having both parents unemployed; however, there was an association between cannabis use and family status. There was a clear association between parent-child attachment and both measures of cannabis use in years 9 and 11, with year 9 experiencing a ceiling effect at the third level (poor attachment), after which no further increase in cannabis use was evident. A strong association was evident between permissive parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency and cannabis use for both year 9 and year 11 students. Data from this study demonstrate a high prevalence of cannabis use among Australian teenagers and the importance of a coordinated public health response to the problem of cannabis use. The study also reveals a strong correlation between parent attitudes favorable to drug use and adolescent cannabis use, suggesting that targeting interventions to families with a history of drug and alcohol problems may be one promising strategy for addressing this link. 37 references and 3 tables
Main Term(s): Adolescent chemical dependency; Drug use
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Adolescent parents; Australia; Juvenile drug abusers; Parent-Child Relations; Parental attitudes
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.