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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

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Differences and similarities in medicine use, perceptions and sharing among adolescents in two different educational settings

Stense Vestergaard
  • Section for Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Pernille Ravn
  • Department of Public Health, Clinical Pharmacology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Christine Erikstrup Hallgreen
  • Copenhagen Centre for Regulatory Science, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
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  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Susanne Kaae
  • Corresponding author
  • Section for Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 2, 2100 København Ø, Copenhagen, Denmark, Phone: +4535336273
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2017-11-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0097



Evidence suggests that there are differences in medicine habits among adolescents with different sociodemographic backgrounds and that peers might also influence medicine use. More knowledge is needed regarding how these aspects together affect how different young people use medicines.


To explore the differences in medicine use, perceptions and sharing between adolescents at two different educational (and socio-demographic) settings and assess the influence of parents and peers.


Fifty-nine students from a private high school (HS) and 34 students from a public vocational school (VS) in Denmark between the ages of 15 and 19 years old were subjects in this study.


A questionnaire was used that included background, medicine consumption, perceptions and social interaction. Descriptive analyses along with a Fishers test were used to determine differences and similarities between students’ medicine patterns at the school settings.


Of the 93 respondents, 74% used medicine within the past month, with females using more medicines. A significant difference was found with students at the VS using a higher number of medicines. Analgesics were the most frequently consumed medicine; however, reasons for using medicines appear to vary between the schools. Similarities between the schools were identified for perception of safety, sharing medicine and talking primarily with parents about medicine.


Fewer differences between students’ medicine use at two educational settings than expected were identified, showing that aspects other than social background influence adolescents’ use of medicine. A general tendency among young people believing that using medicines is a safe might explain these findings.

Keywords: adolescents; Denmark; medicine sharing; medicine use; school


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About the article

Received: 2017-06-01

Accepted: 2017-09-17

Published Online: 2017-11-23

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170097, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0097.

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