Socioeconomic status and parental education in vulnerability for substance use disorders
Background:Families who live in poverty cope with substandard housing, unsafe neighbourhoods, inadequate schools, more stress in their daily lives than more affluent families, with a host of psychological and developmental consequences that can hinder their children's development in many ways. Childhood socio-economic status has been found to predict drug use in youth and young adults, but the link between socioeconomic disadvantages and substance use/disorders is mediated by a number of factors that contribute to the heterogeneous results in the literature on the topic.
Propose:This paper contributes to explore the relationships between socioeconomic status and drug use trajectory among adolescents on 28 European countries in 2015.
Methods:Data were drawn from the European School Survey on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD), the cross-sectional survey that since 1995 collects comparable data among 16-year-old students to monitor trends in substance use and other risk behaviours within and among European countries. The sample (Male = 24,136; Female = 26,300) comes from 28 countries that participated in the 2015 data collection. The consumption of nine illegal substances, the consumption of cigarettes, and alcohol intoxications are considered. Socio economic characteristics at student level are defined through four main dimensions: 1. parental educational level; 2. perceived socio economic status of the family; 3. easiness to borrow money from parents (mother and/or father); 4. easiness to get money as a gift from parents (mother and/or father). Multivariate multi-level mixed-effects logistic regression was performed in order to measure the association between individual socioeconomic status and vulnerability for substance use disorders.
Results:In almost all the psychoactive analysed, adolescents from high socioeconomic status have been found to experiment more often than young people from lower socioeconomic status. However, regular and frequent use, with the risk of being affected by drug use disorders, was found to be associated with a lower socioeconomic status and lower parental education.
Conclusions:People from high socioeconomic status appear to dispose of greater sociocultural resources to master and regulate their consumption and are more often conscious of their interest not to be tipped over in problematic use. Conversely, lower sociocultural resources among the children from less affluent families, interfere with behavioural control and impair resilience mechanism, contributing ultimately to psychoactive drugs disorders.