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Out of School Time & Risky Behaviour

Laura Swash

22nd August 2016

Lee and Bailey (Nov 2015), writing in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found a correlation between the amount of time spent out of school, how that time was used, and corresponding behaviour regarding alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. This was research conducted in California.

This interesting study looked at previous research suggesting that high levels of adolescent substance use are linked to lower academic achievement, reduced schooling and delinquency, and instead of seeing this as a cause and effect relationship whereby the substance abuse caused the lower achievement, etc. they looked at how extra time out of school, and what the adolescent did with this, was related to smoking cigarettes or marijuana or drinking alcohol. They found that the relationship was complex:

These findings suggest that the context in which the substance use is taking place is an important consideration when investigating adolescent health. It provides a sociocultural explanation for risky behaviour. Maybe the next step is to look at the types of sports that result in increased alcohol abuse at the end of high school, and also conduct some cross-cultural research to check these correlations in other cultures?

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Laura Swash

Laura has been teaching Psychology in the face-to-face classroom and online for many years and she enjoys writing online academic material and blogs.

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