Friendship and Consumption Networks in Adolescents and Their Relationship to Stress and Cannabis Use Intention

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 24;18(7):3335. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18073335.


Background: Cannabis is an illegal psychoactive substance that's use is widespread among adolescents. During adolescence, many changes can cause stress. In this phase, the group of friends becomes increasingly important, being a situation of vulnerability for the beginning of cannabis use, either as an escape mechanism or due to peer's influence. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to describe and analyze the structure of the consumption and friendship network, the intention to use cannabis, and the stress in a secondary school class.

Methods: An online platform with validated self-reported questionnaires were used for data collection.

Results: The sample consisted of adolescents (n = 20) aged 14-16 from a third-year class of compulsory secondary education in Ponferrada (León, Spain). Significant differences were obtained concerning consumption intention and the different network metrics in both the friendship and consumption networks. Subsequently, the representation of these networks was carried out.

Conclusions: Social Network Analysis is a very useful tool that provides a picture of the context in which adolescents are located. In the consumption network, there are central actors who have not yet consumed cannabis; this is a crucial moment to implement prevention strategies.

Keywords: adolescents; cannabis; friendship; network; social network analysis; stress.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Cannabis*
  • Friends
  • Humans
  • Intention
  • Schools
  • Spain / epidemiology