Missouri 2000 Student Survey
The Missouri 2000 Student Survey was conducted for the State of Missouri's Department of Mental Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs (DADA), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) of North Carolina between February and April of 2000. The survey was administered to over 10,000 Missouri students enrolled in grades 6, 8, 10, and12 in both public and private schools. It is anticipated that the results from this survey will be useful for school planning and will result in greater participation in subsequent administrations of the survey.
This report presents findings designed to provide data on the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among Missouri students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 and to identify potentially "modifiable" risk and protective factors that may be useful to consider in planning and targeting prevention programs and services. This report presents the statewide results from this survey.
Key findings from the Missouri 2000 Student Survey analyses are as follows.
Prevalence of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
- Among students in both public and private schools, alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana were the most commonly used substances. The majority (60% of public school students and 58% of private school students) used at least some alcohol in their lifetime, and 34% and 33%, respectively, used it in the month before the survey. In addition, approximately 18% of students in both samples exhibited binge drinking behavior in the 2 weeks before the survey. Recent tobacco use was reported by 19% of students in both samples, and recent marijuana use was reported by 13% and 10%, respectively.
- There were few differences in substance use by gender among public school students. However, in private schools, males were generally more likely to report use of the various substances.
- White public school students were more likely to report recent tobacco and alcohol use than those in the other racial/ethnic category. Analysis of use by race/ethnicity could not be conducted for private school students because of the small number of surveys completed among students in the other racial/ethnic category.
- The rate of substance use generally increased steadily between grades 6 and 12 among both public and private school students. For example, among public school students, prevalence of recent alcohol use was 11% among 6th graders, 30% among 8th graders, 45% among 10th graders, and 55% among 12th graders. Similarly, among private school students, prevalence of recent alcohol use was 7% among 6th graders, 26% among 8th graders, 43% among 10th graders, and 61% among 12th graders.
- Rates of substance use also varied by substance across region among public school students. Regional analysis could not be conducted for private school students because of the small sample size.
Prevalence of Violent and Delinquent Behaviors
- Approximately 1 in 10 Missouri public and private school students reported attacking others during the year prior to the survey with the intention of seriously hurting them.
- Reports of carrying a handgun other than for the purpose of hunting were relatively rare. About 3% of public school students and 1% of private school students reported this behavior.
- Of the delinquent behaviors asked about on the questionnaire, the most frequently reported behavior was being high or drunk at school. Slightly more than 1 out of 10 students reported this behavior.
Risk and Protective Factors
- In general, as students became older, they were at increasing risk on the various risk factors and less resilient on the protective factors.
- All risk factors within each domain (i.e., community, school, family, and peer-individual) were shown to be positively related to substance use. Some of the strongest relationships between substance use were for the factors of "early initiation of substance use," "attitudes favorable toward drug use," "friends' substance use," "perceived risks of substance use," "sensation seeking," "perceived availability of substances," and "parental attitudes favorable toward substance use." For each of these risk factors, students with that risk factor were at least six times more likely to report recent alcohol or drug use than students without that risk factor.
- Protective factors from all domains were shown to be positively related to substance use. Students who were resilient on these factors were 2 to 10 times more likely not to report substance use than students who were not resilient.
- The cumulative effect of risk and protection on alcohol and drug use was evident among Missouri public and private school students. Students at high risk on a larger number of risk factors were increasingly more likely to use alcohol and other drugs, while students possessing a larger number of protective factors were increasingly less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.
Strengths and Limitations
This study provides valuable information on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use; violent and prohibited behaviors; and risk and protective factors that will enable the State to:
- monitor trends in the substance (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, and other drug) use of Missouri students,
- compare students in each service area with students in the State as a whole, and
- plan, evaluate, and improve community programs that prevent health problems and promote healthy behaviors.
However, several limitations of this study should be noted. First, this study exclusively focuses on adolescents in public and private schools and does not take into consideration school dropouts, students absent on the day that data were collected, homeless and runaway students, and students who have been institutionalized. Second, the questionnaire implemented in this study measures self-reported behavior. Caution should be taken in interpreting these data because of respondents= tendencies to underreport undesirable behaviors and to have difficulty remembering complicated information, such as age at first use.
Implications and Recommendations These findings suggest that all four domains (community, school, family, and peers) must be addressed together to have an impact on the issue of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. A comprehensive systemic approach to this issue using science-based programming and multiple strategies in multiple domains has been proven to be the most effective method of prevention. Concentrating efforts solely on school-based programs or just targeting certain age groups will only yield minimal success. The data do suggest that transitional years for students seem to be a time when alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use increases, and strategies need to address this issue. Data also suggest that prevention programs target the issue of access to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in that use seems to increase as access increases. Therefore, the concept of environmental strategies should be addressed in order to decrease access, increase consequences, or change perceptions regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
To view the full document in PDF Format, click the link below:Full 2000 Missouri Student Survey (137 pages)