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Early Substance Use Initiation And Psychological Distress Among Adolescents In Five ASEAN Countries: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Pengpid S, Peltzer K

Received 18 July 2019

Accepted for publication 1 October 2019

Published 24 October 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 1003—1008


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Igor Elman

Supa Pengpid,1,2 Karl Peltzer2

1ASEAN Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 2Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Office, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Correspondence: Karl Peltzer
Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Office, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, 11 Hoffman Street, Potchefstroom 2531, South Africa
Tel +27 18 299 4927

Aim: The study aimed to assess the associations between substance use early initiation (<12 years) (smoking cigarettes, alcohol and drug use) with psychological distress among adolescents in five ASEAN countries.
Methods: Cross-sectional data were analysed from 33,184 school adolescents, with a median age of 14 years, from Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste that took part in the “Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS)” in 2015.
Results: The overall prevalence of pre-adolescent (<12 years) cigarette use was 10.6%, 8.1% pre-adolescent current alcohol use, and 4.2% pre-adolescent drug use initiation. In adjusted multinomial logistic regression analysis, pre-adolescent initiation of cigarette smoking, pre-adolescent initiation of alcohol use, pre-adolescent initiation of drug use and multi-substance pre-adolescent initiation were highly associated with medium (=1) and high (=2–5) psychological distress (of five psychological distress items: no close friends, loneliness, anxiety, suicidal ideation and suicide attempt). Late initiation of cigarette use and late initiation of drug use were not associated with medium and/or high psychological distress.
Conclusion: Early prevention programmes should target concurrent early substance use initiation in order to prevent possible subsequent psychological distress.

Keywords: early substance use, psychological distress, adolescents, ASEAN countries

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