Some young people face lower risk of problematic substance use

June 29, 2021

Not all young people face equal risks when it comes to problematic substance use, and there are a variety of protective factors reducing their risk. In the US, for example, when low-income families received annual income supplements, children from these families had fewer alcohol and cannabis problems, compared with children from families not receiving income supplements. Surveys have also found that when parents provided high levels of supervision and conveyed the importance of not using substances, children were less likely to use substances. Also, youth who felt strongly connected to and supported by their families and who had meaningful opportunities for family participation were less likely to engage in problematic substance use. Additionally, some individual characteristics are also protective. Youth with strong principles, such as valuing being honest even if it leads to punishment, were less likely to misuse alcohol or cannabis. Further, youth with high self-esteem were less likely to use cannabis or cocaine or to engage in binge drinking. For more information, see Vol. 13, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly