School, peer and family relationships and adolescent substance use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms in Wales: a cross sectional study
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Positive relationships with family, friends and school staff are consistently linked with health and wellbeing during adolescence, though fewer studies explore how these micro-systems interact to influence adolescent health. This study tests the independent and interacting roles of family, peer and school relationships in predicting substance use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms among 11–16 year olds in Wales. It presents cross-sectional analyses of the 2013 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey, completed by 9055 young people aged 11–16 years. Multilevel logistic regression analyses are used to test associations of family communication, family support, relationships with school staff, school peer connectedness, and support from friends, with tobacco use, cannabis use, alcohol use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms. Positive relationships with family and school staff were consistently associated with better outcomes. Support from friends was associated with higher use of all substances, while higher school peer connectedness was associated with better subjective wellbeing and mental health. Better relationships with school staff were most strongly associated with positive subjective wellbeing, and fewer mental health symptoms where pupils reported less family support. Support from friends was associated with higher cannabis use and worse mental health among pupils with lower family support. Relationships with family and school staff may be important in protecting young people against substance use, and improving wellbeing and mental health. Interventions focused on student-staff relationships may be important for young people with less family support. Interventions based on peer support should be mindful of potential harmful effects for pupils with less support from family.
Child Indicators Research;
Moore, G.F., Cox, R., Evans, R.E., Hallingberg, B., Hawkins, J., Littlecott, H.J., Long, S.J. and Murphy, S. (2018) 'School, peer and family relationships and adolescent substance use, subjective wellbeing and mental health symptoms in wales: a cross sectional study', Child Indicators Research, 11(6), pp.1951-1965.
Article published in Child Indicators Research available open access at https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-017-9524-1
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