Drug use and illnesses among eight grade students in rural schools

C. S. Alexander, A. C. Klassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We examined the relationship between drug use by young adolescents and two indicators of illness, frequency of illness and numbers of days absent from school owing to illness. Data were from a general health survey of all eight grade students enrolled in public schools in two rural Maryland counties. A total of 745 students completed a self-administered questionnaire during school hours in January 1984. Information was obtained on a variety of sociodemographic characteristics and on the students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. Correlational analyses were used to examine the relationships among cigarette smoking, beer or wine drinking, whiskey or hard liquor drinking, and marijuana use. Logistic regression was used to model the effects of drug use behaviors on the likelihood of being absent from school 3 or more days, adjusting for the student's age, sex, race, parents' education, illness frequency, and concerns about learning problems in school. We found substantial covariation among the use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. After adjusting for the background variables of illness, frequency, and learning problems, we found that students who are frequent cigarette smokers experienced a 2.6 risk of school absenteeism. Other drug use behaviors were not associated significantly with increased risk of missing school. Findings are discussed within the context of health-related consequences of drug use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-399
Number of pages6
JournalPublic health reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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