A Cross-national Comparison of Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Drug Use and Delinquency in the United States and the Netherlands

J Drug Issues. 2012 Oct;42(4):337-357. doi: 10.1177/0022042612461769.


The present study compared associations between risk and protective factors and adolescent drug use and delinquency in the Netherlands and the United States. Data were collected from students between the ages of 12 and 17 using the same school-administered survey instrument in both countries. Levels of exposure to risk and protective factors were generally similar in both countries. The same risk and protective factors shown to be associated with U.S. adolescents' drug use and delinquency were related significantly to Dutch youth's drug use and delinquency. One important exception was that Dutch students perceived their parents' attitudes to be more favorable toward alcohol use; these attitudes also were more predictive of adolescents' regular drinking in the Netherlands compared to the United States. The findings indicate that the risk and protective factors measured in this study can be important targets for prevention of health-compromising behaviors among young people in the Netherlands and the United States.

Keywords: Adolescent drug use; cross-national comparison; delinquency; prevention; risk and protective factors.