Background: Illicit drug use influences people’s lives and elicits unwanted here is an increase in young people’s drug use in Sweden. This study aimed to investigate Swedish high-school pupils’ attitudes, impulsiveness and gender differences linked to drug use. Also risk and protective factors relative to drug use were a focus of interest.
Method: High school pupils (n = 146) aged 17- 21 years, responded to the Adolescent Health and Development Inventory, Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and Knowledge, and the Attitudes and Beliefs. Direct logistic, multiple regression analyses, and Multivariate Analysis of Variance were used to analyse the data.
Results: Positive Attitudes towards drugs was predicted by risk factors (odds ratio = 37.31) and gender (odds ratio = .32). Risk factors (odds ratio = 46.89), positive attitudes towards drugs (odds ratio = 4.63), and impulsiveness (odds ratio = 1.11) predicted drug usage. Risk factors dimensions Family, Friends and Individual Characteristic were positively related to impulsiveness among drug users. Moreover, although males reported using drugs to a greater extent, but female expressed more positive attitude towards drugs and even reported more impulsiveness than male students.
Conclusion: This study reinforces the idea that research must focus on gender differences relative to pro-drug attitudes along with testing for differences in the predictors of girls’ and boys’ delinquency and impulsiveness. Positive attitudes towards drugs among adolescents seem to be part of a vicious circle including risk factors, such as friendly drug environments (e.g., friends who use drugs) and unsupportive family environments, individual characteristics, and impulsiveness.