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Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs

The Journal of Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues


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Social Skills and Their Relationship to Drug Use Among 15-16-Year-Old Students in Estonia: An Analysis Based on the ESPAD Data

1Infectious Diseases and Drug Monitoring, Department National Institute for Health Development

2Institute of Psychology, Tallinn University

3Institute of Sport Pedagogy, Faculty of Exercise and Sport Sciences University of Tartu

© 2014 Sigrid Vorobjov et. al.. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Volume 31, Issue 4, Pages 401–412, ISSN (Online) 1458-6126, DOI: 10.2478/nsad-2014-0031, October 2014

Publication History

Received:
2014-03-03
Received:
2014-06-16
Published Online:
2014-10-02

Abstract

AIM – to investigate the relationship between levels of social skills and drug use among 15–16-year-old students in Estonia. METHODS – A total of 2,460 Estonian schoolchildren, born in 1995, participated in the ESPAD study in 2011. Individual social skills levels were measured with questions on prosocial and antisocial behaviours assessing how children perform within their social milieu. The relationship between social skills levels and drug use was estimated using chi-squared tests and logistic regression analysis. Odds ratios (OR) were adjusted for gender, parents’ education and financial well-being, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to estimate risks of drug use by social skills level. RESULTS – Students with lower social skills were at greater risk of starting smoking and smoking daily (50% risk increase). Students with low social skills had a higher risk of lifetime use of cannabis (OR=1.4; 95%CI 1.1–1.9), sedatives/tranquillisers without a prescription (OR=2.3; 1.4–3.9), and inhalants (OR=1.9; 1.2–3.0). The number of students with lower social skills was significantly higher among boys than girls: 35% vs 19%. CONCLUSIONS – Students’ social skill levels were related to their licit and illicit drug use. A low level of social skills can increase adolescents’ vulnerability to drug use. As boys’ social skills levels appeared much lower and their drug use higher than that of girls, we suggest that gender-related risk prevention programmes of social skills training could be beneficial in preventing drug use.

Keywords: social skills; prevention; ESPAD; Estonia

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