School-related predictors of smoking, drinking and drug use: Evidence from the Belfast Youth Development Study

Oliver Perra, A. Fletcher, C. Bonell, Kathryn Higgins, Patrick McCrystal

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45 Citations (Scopus)



To examine whether students’ school engagement, relationships with teachers, educational aspirations and involvement in fights at school are associated with various measures of subsequent substance use.

Data were drawn from the Belfast Youth Development Study (n = 2968). Multivariate logistic models examined associations between school-related factors (age 13/14) and substance use (age 15/16).

The two factors which were consistently and independently associated with regular substance use among both males and females were student–teacher relationships and fighting at school: positive teacher-relationships reduced the risk of daily smoking by 48%, weekly drunkenness by 25%, and weekly cannabis use by 52%; being in a fight increased the risk of daily smoking by 54%, weekly drunkenness by 31%, and weekly cannabis use by 43%. School disengagement increased the likelihood of smoking and cannabis use among females only.

Further research should focus on public health interventions promoting positive relationships and safety at school.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2011 The Foundation for Professionals in Services for Adolescents. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Sex Factors
  • Humans
  • Child
  • Northern Ireland
  • Adolescent Development
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marijuana Abuse
  • Smoking
  • Schools
  • Logistic Models
  • Parenting
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Family
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Male

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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