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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 215.
Published online Mar 20, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-215
PMCID: PMC3337296
Alcohol and cannabis use among adolescents in Flemish secondary school in Brussels: effects of type of education
Hans Berten,corresponding author1 Dries Cardoen,1 Ruben Brondeel,2 and Nicole Vettenburg1
1Department of Social Welfare Studies, H. Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2Department of Experimental Clinical and Health Psychology, H. Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Hans Berten: hans.berten/at/ugent.be; Dries Cardoen: dries.cardoen/at/ugent.be; Ruben Brondeel: ruben.brondeel/at/gmail.com; Nicole Vettenburg: nicole.vettenburg/at/ugent.be
Received December 16, 2011; Accepted March 20, 2012.
Abstract
Background
Research regarding socio-economic differences in alcohol and drug use in adolescence yields mixed results. This study hypothesizes that (1) when using education type as a proxy of one's social status, clear differences will exist between students from different types of education, regardless of students' familial socio-economic background; (2) and that the effects of education type differ according to their cultural background.
Methods
Data from the Brussels youth monitor were used, a school survey administered among 1,488 adolescents from the 3rd to 6th year of Flemish secondary education. Data were analyzed using multilevel logistic regression models.
Results
Controlling for their familial background, the results show that native students in lower educational tracks use alcohol and cannabis more often than students in upper educational tracks. Such a relationship was not found for students from another ethnic background.
Conclusion
Results from this study indicate that research into health risks should take into account both adolescents' familial background and individual social position as different components of youngsters' socio-economic background.
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