Drug Awareness in Adolescents Attending a Mental Health Service: Analysis of Longitudinal Data

By Arnau, Jaume; Bono, Roser et al. | The Spanish Journal of Psychology, July 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Drug Awareness in Adolescents Attending a Mental Health Service: Analysis of Longitudinal Data


Arnau, Jaume, Bono, Roser, Díaz, Rosa, Goti, Javier, The Spanish Journal of Psychology


One of the procedures used most recently with longitudinal data is linear mixed models. In the context of health research the increasing number of studies that now use these models bears witness to the growing interest in this type of analysis. This paper describes the application of linear mixed models to a longitudinal study of a sample of Spanish adolescents attending a mental health service, the aim being to investigate their knowledge about the consumption of alcohol and other drugs. More specifically, the main objective was to compare the efficacy of a motivational interviewing programme with a standard approach to drug awareness. The models used to analyse the overall indicator of drug awareness were as follows: (a) unconditional linear growth curve model; (b) growth model with subject-associated variables; and (c) individual curve model with predictive variables. The results showed that awareness increased over time and that the variable 'schooling years' explained part of the between-subjects variation. The effect of motivational interviewing was also significant.

Keywords: linear mixed models, drug awareness, adolescence, longitudinal study, mental health.

Uno de los procedimientos más recientemente utilizados con datos de carácter longitudinal son los modelos lineales mixtos. Su creciente interés en investigación sanitaria se constata por un aumento de los estudios que utilizan este tipo de análisis. Este trabajo se centra en los modelos lineales mixtos aplicados a un estudio longitudinal sobre el conocimiento acerca del consumo de alcohol y otras drogas en una muestra de adolescentes españoles que inician tratamiento en un centro de salud mental. Concretamente, el objetivo principal fue comparar la eficacia de un programa de entrevista motivacional con otro estándar sobre el conocimiento de las drogas. Los modelos utilizados a fin de analizar el indicador global de conocimiento sobre drogas fueron los siguientes: (a) modelo incondicional lineal de curva de crecimiento, (b) modelo de crecimiento con variables asociadas a las personas y (c) modelo de curvas individuales con variables predictoras. Los resultados mostraron que el conocimiento incrementa con el paso del tiempo y que la escolarización explica parte de la variación entre-sujetos. En cuanto al efecto de la entrevista motivacional resultó ser significativo.

Palabras clave: modelos lineales mixtos, conocimientos sobre drogas, adolescencia, estudio longitudinal, salud mental.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Studies conducted in several countries indicate that it is during adolescence that people are most likely to begin consuming psychoactive substances, with drug use frequently beginning around the age of 13 or 14 (Plan Nacional sobre drogas [Spanish Government's National Plan on Drugs, NPD], 2007; Vega et al., 2002). For example, in a study carried out in schools in Barcelona, 37.5% of pupils reported having tried cannabis (Morales, Ariza, Nebot, Pérez, & Sánchez, 2008). The factors associated with the initiation of cannabis use among adolescents are smoking, alcohol abuse and the intention to consume cannabis (Pérez, Ariza, Sánchez-Martínez, & Nebot, 2010). In this context, a Spanish nationwide survey on drug use among secondary-school pupils found that in 2006 the main substances consumed by pupils aged 14-18 years were alcohol, tobacco and cannabis (NPD, 2007). Overall, 79.6% of those surveyed had drunk alcohol at least once in their life, 46.1% had smoked and 36.2% had consumed cannabis. Comparison of these results with those of previous surveys shows a fall in the prevalence of consumption over lifetime, which was more marked in the case of tobacco and cannabis.

This nationwide survey also noted that the large majority of pupils (85.6%) considered themselves to be sufficiently informed about drugs, their effects and the problems associated with their use. The main channels through which young people received information were their parents and siblings (73. …

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