A study investigated the associations between electronic media communication (EMC) with friends and adolescent substance use (tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis), over and beyond the associations of face-to-face (FTF) interactions with friends and the average level of classroom substance use. Drawn from the cross-national 2009/2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study in The Netherlands, 5,642 Dutch adolescents (M age = 14.29) reported on their substance use, EMC, and FTF interactions. Two-level multilevel analyses (participants nested within classrooms) were run.
Electronic media communication was positively associated with adolescent substance use, though significantly more strongly with alcohol than with tobacco or cannabis use. Further, EMC strengthenedseveral positive associations of FTF interactions and average classroom substance use with adolescent substance use. Electronic media communication was uniquely associated with substance use, predominantly with alcohol use. Thus, adolescents’ EMC and other online behaviours should not be left unnoticed in substance use research and prevention programmes, the researchers state. Frequent electronic media communication with friends is associated with higher adolescent substance use.
Source: Gommans R; Stevens GW; Finne E; Cillessen AH; Boniel Nissim M; ter Bogt TF International Journal of Public Health Published early online 4 December 2014. Part of special issue “Communication Technology, Media Use and the Health of Our Kids.