Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Comparison of the Peers Method and Traditional Methodologies, and Risk Behaviors in Studies of the Prevalence of Drug Consumption in a Population of Female, Chilean Students

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

A Comparison of the Peers Method and Traditional Methodologies, and Risk Behaviors in Studies of the Prevalence of Drug Consumption in a Population of Female, Chilean Students

Article excerpt

The present study investigates drug consumption and risk behaviors among female students between 8th and 12th grade in two communities in the city of Santiago, Chile. Based on studies of university populations, we hypothesize that the students' reports of their consumption of licit drugs will tend to be consistent with their actual use of said drugs using two methods to investigate consumption, while their consumption of illicit drugs will be susceptible, and will tend to be under-reported when evaluated through traditional self-report measures. In order to compare the two methods, a cross-sectional study was designed that would compare reported drug consumption, first using the peers method, and then by means of traditional self-report in a group of 350 students. The results show that women's reports of licit drug consumption converge using the two methods, while as earlier suggested, women's illicit drug consumption was found to be under-reported when traditional methodologies were used.

Keywords: peers method, drug consumption, students, women

Este estudio investiga el consumo de drogas y los comportamientos de riesgo de alumnas entre los 8? y 12? cursos en dos comunidades de la ciudad de Santiago, Chile. Empleando dos métodos para investigar el consumo, y basándonos en los estudios de poblaciones universitarias, hipotetizamos que los autoinformes de las alumnas sobre su consumo de drogas legales tenderán a ser consistentes con el uso real de dichas drogas, mientras que su consumo de drogas ilícitas será susceptible y tenderán a infra-informar de ello cuando se evalúa a través de medidas tradicionales de autoinforme. Para comparar los dos métodos, se diseñó un estudio transversal que compararía el consumo informado, primero empleando el método de pares, y después por medio del autoinforme tradicional, en un grupo de 350 alumnas. Los resultados muestran que los informes de las chicas sobre su consumo de drogas legales convergen empleando los dos métodos, mientras que, como se ha sugerido, infra-informaban sobre su consumo de drogas ilegales cuando se empleaban metodologías tradicionales.

Palabras clave: método de pares, consumo de drogas, alumnas, mujeres

Nowadays, drug addiction is a problem of national concern and one that crosses borders (CONACE, 2005). In Latin America, drug consumption is a regional priority because each day there exist more and more young drug addicts, which indicates that this phenomenon is growing, and that it has come to affect both institutions and societies at large (Florenzano, 1998; Florenzano, Valdés, Serrano, Rodríguez, & Roizblatt, 2001; Loas et al., 2005; Mc Whinter & Florenzano, 1998; Nishimura, Hishimuna, Else, Goebert, & Andrade, 2005; Rees & Valenzuela, 2003).

In Chile, a great number of studies on this subject have been conducted that show the magnitude of drug consumption, especially those directed by the National Committee for the Control of Narcotics (CONACE). This organization has been conducting studies at the national, regional and municipal levels for over 10 years to evaluate the magnitude, size and tendencies of the many drug problems that affect the general, as well as student populations (CONACE, 1996-2005).

The results of this last, national study by CONACE, the organization's sixth survey about student drug use, shows the comparative magnitude of the three studies of student populations (CONACE, 2005). In the period from 2001 to 2005, where illicit drug consumption is concerned, crack stands out as the greatest concern (a global increase from 2.2% to 2.6%). Illicit drug consumption has experienced an increase from 18.2% to 20.4%, an increment that is due primarily to the increase in crack consumption among women, which reached 28.6%, while the men's consumption increased by 10%. No less worrisome is the case of marijuana consumption, which grew 3.4% during the same period, and whose global level of consumption has reached 15. …

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