Development of an Evaluation Scale On the Reasons for Drug Use: Validation for Portuguese Youth and Their Relation to Risk Behaviours

Marta Reis1,2,3*, Gina Tomé1,2,4, Lúcia Ramiro1,2, Fábio Botelho Guedes1,2, Filipa Coelhoso1,2,5 & Margarida Gaspar de Matos1,2

1University of Lisbon, Faculty of Human Motricity (Social Adventure Team), Portugal
2Institute of Environmental Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal
3Bolseira Pós Doutoramento FCT SFRH/BPD/110905/2015
4Bolseira Pós Doutoramento FCT SFRH/BPD/108637/2015
5ISCE - Instituto Superior de Lisboa e Vale do Tejo, Portugal

Dr. Marta Reis, University of Lisbon, Faculty of Human Motricity (Social Adventure Team), Institute of Environmental Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon & Bolseira Pós Doutoramento, Portugal.

Keywords: Drugs Consumption; Reasons for Drug Use; Risk Behaviours; Youth; Health Promotion


The main objective of this study was to validate a construct, the scale of 11 items on the reasons for consuming drugs for a sample of young people in Portugal. It intends to reflect on the main reasons why young people use drugs, as well as whether these are associated with characteristics of youth groups and risk behaviours, such as gender, attendance of higher education, sexual intercourse with occasional partners, sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, and self-harm behaviour. The study includes 1166 young people, with an average age of 21.1 years, 72.3?ing female. More than one third of the participants reported having had sexual intercourse under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (39.2%) and 23.5% reported having occasional sexual partners. 16.9% of the participants reported having drug use and 10.6% reported having self-harm behaviours. Three main reasons for drug use were identified, namely personal satisfaction with social reasons, social integration, and reasons for dealing with uneasy situations or to overcome difficulties and relieve feelings that generate unease (coping). Regarding risk behaviours, a significant relationship was found between the reasons for drug use, suggesting the need for the development of public policies aimed at education and health promotion.

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