A Prospective Study on the Influence of Scholastic Factors on the Prevalence and Initiation of Illicit Drug Misuse in Adolescence

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Apr 27;15(5):874. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050874.


Background: This study aimed to prospectively investigate the scholastic factors related to illicit drug misuse (IDM) and the initiation of IDM among older adolescents from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Methods: This 2-year prospective study included 436 participants (202 females), who were an average of 16 years old at the beginning of the study (baseline). The participants were tested at baseline and follow-up (20 months later). The predictors included variables of scholastic-achievement (grade point average, school absences, unexcused absences and behavioral grade). The criteria were: (i) IDM at baseline; (ii) IDM at follow-up; and (iii) initiation of IDM over the study course. Results: Logistic regression indicated increased odds of IDM in adolescents who were more frequent absent from school (baseline: Odds Ratio (OR): 3.73, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 2.12⁻6.57; follow-up: OR: 2.91, 95% CI: 1.90⁻4.65). The lower grade point average and more unexcused absences were evidenced for adolescents who consumed drugs on follow-up (OR: 1.67, 95% CI: 1.11⁻2.51; OR: 1.74, 95% CI: 1.30⁻2.32 for grade point average and unexcused absences, respectively). Initiation of IDM was predicted by frequent absences from school (OR: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.3⁻3.8), and lower behavioral grades (OR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.2⁻3.3).

Conclusions: The findings confirmed strong correlations between scholastic failure and IDM. Absences from school and lower behavioral grades at baseline were predictive of the initiation of IDM in older adolescents.

Keywords: academic achievement; association; puberty; substance misuse.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina / epidemiology
  • Cognition
  • Drug Users / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Schools
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Illicit Drugs