Perceived risk and attitudes about the consequences of drug use, perceptions of others expectations and self-efficacy influence the intent to try drugs and continue drug use once use has started. We examine associations between adolescents' attitudes and beliefs towards ecstasy use; because most ecstasy users have a history of marijuana use, we estimate the association for three groups of adolescents: non-marijuana/ecstasy users, marijuana users (used marijuana at least once but never used ecstasy) and ecstasy users (used ecstasy at least once).
Data from 5049 adolescents aged 12-18 years old who had complete weighted data information in Round 2 of the Restricted Use Files (RUF) of the National Survey of Parents and Youth (NSPY). Data were analyzed using jackknife weighted multinomial logistic regression models.
Adolescent marijuana and ecstasy users were more likely to approve of marijuana and ecstasy use as compared to non-drug using youth. Adolescent marijuana and ecstasy users were more likely to have close friends who approved of ecstasy as compared to non-drug using youth. The magnitudes of these two associations were stronger for ecstasy use than for marijuana use in the final adjusted model. Our final adjusted model shows that approval of marijuana and ecstasy use was more strongly associated with marijuana and ecstasy use in adolescence than perceived risk in using both drugs.
Information about the risks and consequences of ecstasy use need to be presented to adolescents in order to attempt to reduce adolescents' approval of ecstasy use as well as ecstasy experimentation.