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Prediction of cannabis and cocaine use in adolescence using decision trees and logistic regression

Author(s): Elena Gervilla | Alfonso L. Palmer

Journal: European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context
ISSN 1889-1861

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 19;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: adolescence | cannabis | cocaine | decision trees | logistic regression | antisocial behaviour

Spain is one of the European countries with the highest prevalence of cannabis and cocaine use among young people. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors related to the consumption of cocaine and cannabis among adolescents. A questionnaire was administered to 9,284 students between 14 and 18 years of age in Palma de Mallorca (47.1% boys and 52.9% girls) whose mean age was 15.59 years. Logistic regression and decision trees were carried out in order to model the consumption of cannabis and cocaine. The results show the use of legal substances and committing fraudulence or theft are the main variables that raise the odds of consuming cannabis. In boys, cannabis consumption and a family history of drug use increase the odds of consuming cocaine, whereas in girls the use of alcohol, behaviours of fraudulence or theft and difficulty in some personal skills influence their odds of consuming cocaine. Finally, ease of access to the substance greatly raises the odds of consuming cocaine and cannabis in both genders. Decision trees highlight the role of consuming other substances and committing fraudulence or theft. The results of this study gain importance when it comes to putting into practice effective prevention programmes.

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