Cotrina-Rabanal, Armando; Carcamo, Cesar; Piazza, Marina; Anthony, James Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia; García, Patricia/ Facultad de Salud Pública, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Perú/ Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, United States
In this study, the main aim was to examine the association between perceived parental monitoring and the use of drugs, specifically, tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, ethylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and inhalant drugs among a population’s representative sample of adolescents in three different cities in Peru. This study builds on a large survey of sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) among unmarried adolescents. The basic research design is a cross-sectional study, performed in 2004, using a household-based survey. The survey included three cities with high rates of urban areas and a high proportion of young people, socio-culturally representative of the three major regions (coast, highlands and jungle) of Lima, Peru (including Callao), Huancayo, and Iquitos. Important methodological issues in this research include: (a) specification of the population under study, which was nested within a larger study of sexual behaviors and STD among unmarried young people, and (b) the necessary self-reporting character of the survey assessments. The STD study population was designated to include unmarried adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years old who were permanent residents of each of the three cities. All participants were included in the drug epidemiology survey. The sampling approach involved a three-stage cluster sample. All of the participants were asked for informed consent before the anonymous self-reported questionnaires were completed. The key response variable in this study was drug use (alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs). The suspected risk determinant was the lower level of parent monitoring. It was measured with a Parental Monitoring Scale (1-7: low-high). The study was performed safeguarding the integrity and promoting the confidentiality and anonymity of the participants. We included 2,180 adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. The Cronbach alpha of the scale was 0.77. The estimated mean of family attention was 4.89 (5.15 for males and 4.58 for females). The adjusted conditional logistic regression analyses showed an inverse association between parental monitoring and the occurrence of alcohol, cannabis and inhalant use (OR=0.87, p<0.001), the inverse association continued after adjustments for sex, age, cities of origin, school enrollment and school degree. The adolescents’ perception of level of parental monitoring contributes to the explanation of drug use. The study results reflect the well-established inverse relationship between parental monitoring and adolescents’ drug use. The results from this study may have important implications for development of effective intervention programs to reduce the onset and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drug use. Acknowledgements go to the Unit of Epidemiology, School of Public Health at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and the Department of Epidemiology, College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University. This study was funded by a NIDA/FIC D43 grant.