Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Family risk factors for cannabis use: a population-based survey of Australian secondary school students
    Olsson, CA ; Coffey, C ; Toumbourou, JW ; Bond, L ; Thomas, L ; Patton, G (CARFAX PUBLISHING, 2003-06)
    The objective of this study was to investigate relationships between adolescent cannabis use and indices of parent - child attachment, family functioning and parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency. A total of 2848 year 9 and 2363 year 11 students participated in the Victorian Adolescent Health and Well-Being Survey (1999). The study was a school-based random sample of 535 metropolitan and rural, government and non-government secondary schools throughout Victoria, Australia. Cannabis use was defined as 'any' and 'weekly' use in the last 30 days. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent associations between cannabis use and parent - child attachment, family functioning and parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency. Cannabis use in year 9 was associated with permissive parent attitudes to drugs and delinquency (any use: adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 8.1; weekly use: adjusted OR = 7.6), and was particularly sensitive to small changes in the quality of the parent - child relationship with risk increasing threefold for those describing their attachment as 'good' compared with 'very good' (any use: adjusted OR = 2.8, weekly use adjusted OR = 2.9). A similar, but more moderate pattern association was evident in year 11. After adjusting for other family and background factors, poor family functioning showed minimal association with level of cannabis use at both year levels. Results suggest that intervention efforts might sensibly target strengthening parent - children relationships and promoting less permissive parent attitudes to drug use.