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The Swiss cohort study on substance use risk factors – findings of two waves


Abstract

Aim: To summarize published findings in peer-reviewed journals of the first two waves of the Swiss Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF), a longitudinal study assessing risk and protective factors of 5,987 young men during the phase of emerging adulthood (20 years at baseline, followed-up 15 months later). Methods: Included were 33 studies published until November 2014 focusing on substance use. Results: Substance use in early adulthood is a prevalent and stable behavior. The 12-month prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription drugs (10.6 %) lies between that of cannabis (36.4 %) and other illicit drugs such as ecstasy (3.7 %) and cocaine (3.2 %). Although peer pressure in the form of misconduct is associated with increased substance use, other aspects such as peer involvement in social activities may have beneficial effects. Regular sport activities are associated with reduced substance use, with the exception of alcohol use. Young men are susceptible to structural conditions such as the price of alcohol beverages or the density of on-premise alcohol outlets. Particularly alcohol use in public settings such as bars, discos or in parks (compared with private settings such as the home) is associated with alcohol-related harm, including injuries or violence. Being a single parent versus nuclear family has no effect on alcohol use, but active parenting does. Besides parenting, religiousness is an important protective factor for both legal and illegal substance use. Merely informing young men about the risks of substance use may not be an effective preventive measure. At-risk users of licit and illicit substances are more health literate, e. g., for example, they seek out more information on the internet than non-at-risk-users or abstainers. Discussion: There are a number of risk and protective substance use factors, but their associations with substance use do not necessarily agree with those found outside Europe. In the United States, for example, heavy alcohol use in this age group commonly takes place in private settings, whereas in Switzerland it more often takes place in public settings. Other behaviors, such as the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, appear to be similar to those found overseas, which may show the need for targeted preventive actions. C-SURF findings point to the necessity of establishing European studies to identify factors for designing specific preventive actions.

Abstract

Aim: To summarize published findings in peer-reviewed journals of the first two waves of the Swiss Cohort Study on Substance Use Risk Factors (C-SURF), a longitudinal study assessing risk and protective factors of 5,987 young men during the phase of emerging adulthood (20 years at baseline, followed-up 15 months later). Methods: Included were 33 studies published until November 2014 focusing on substance use. Results: Substance use in early adulthood is a prevalent and stable behavior. The 12-month prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription drugs (10.6 %) lies between that of cannabis (36.4 %) and other illicit drugs such as ecstasy (3.7 %) and cocaine (3.2 %). Although peer pressure in the form of misconduct is associated with increased substance use, other aspects such as peer involvement in social activities may have beneficial effects. Regular sport activities are associated with reduced substance use, with the exception of alcohol use. Young men are susceptible to structural conditions such as the price of alcohol beverages or the density of on-premise alcohol outlets. Particularly alcohol use in public settings such as bars, discos or in parks (compared with private settings such as the home) is associated with alcohol-related harm, including injuries or violence. Being a single parent versus nuclear family has no effect on alcohol use, but active parenting does. Besides parenting, religiousness is an important protective factor for both legal and illegal substance use. Merely informing young men about the risks of substance use may not be an effective preventive measure. At-risk users of licit and illicit substances are more health literate, e. g., for example, they seek out more information on the internet than non-at-risk-users or abstainers. Discussion: There are a number of risk and protective substance use factors, but their associations with substance use do not necessarily agree with those found outside Europe. In the United States, for example, heavy alcohol use in this age group commonly takes place in private settings, whereas in Switzerland it more often takes place in public settings. Other behaviors, such as the nonmedical use of prescription drugs, appear to be similar to those found overseas, which may show the need for targeted preventive actions. C-SURF findings point to the necessity of establishing European studies to identify factors for designing specific preventive actions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:09 Oct 2015 16:33
Last Modified:28 Aug 2017 15:56
Publisher:Hans Huber
ISSN:0939-5911
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1024/0939-5911.a000380

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