Changes over time in Lithuanian schoolchildren's attitudes toward addictive behaviors: Promoting and preventing factors


Background: Concern is growing about the high prevalence of traditional and new forms of addictive behaviors among young people due to the health risks and a better understanding of the factors causing these behaviors is needed. Aim To evaluate tendencies in the attitudes of Lithuanian schoolchildren toward addictive behaviors over a three year period and to ascertain the promoting and preventing factors of such behaviors. Methods: The researchers developed a survey which was conducted twice over a three year period. The sample consisted of pupils in the 5th, 9th and 12th grades (N = 1590, age range 11-19 years) from both urban and rural areas. Results: Both the recognition of and involvement in addictive behaviors significantly increased with age. Motivation to abstain due to internal factors decreased with age and increased among pupils already involved in addictive behaviors. Time- and age-related differences were found regarding substance abuse and behavioral addictions. Whilst betting adverts were increasingly noticed over time, smoking adverts were decreasingly noticed over the three year period and it was concomitant with inconsistent changes in self-reported involvement in these behaviors. Conclusions: Most significant changes in the attitudes of Lithuanian pupils toward addictive behaviors occur between the ages of 11 and 15 years. However, age-related changes differ for the pupils' attitudes toward substance abuse and behavioral addictions. Increasing awareness of the potential risk of addictive behaviors does not prevent their increasing prevalence with age. Increased risk of involvement in addictive behavior correlates with decreased internal motivation to abstain from addictive behavior and decreased recognition of its potential risks. No clear correlation was found between significant changes in noticing adverts and involvement in addictive behaviors

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Last time updated on 3/30/2019

This paper was published in NARCIS .

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