Effects of self-control, drug-use peers and family attachment on drug use among Chinese users: A gender-specific analysis

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Introduction: The increasing trend of synthetic drug use has been a significant concern in China. The current research adopted a gendered perspective to examine the effects of self-control, drug-use peers and family attachment on drug use frequency in China. Methods: This cross-sectional survey research recruited 785 people who used drugs from four compulsory drug rehabilitation institutions in Guangdong and Shandong Province of China in 2018. Ordinary least squares regression analyses were conducted to examine the gendered effects of self-control (Grasmick et al.'s cognitive scale), drug-use peers and family attachment on drug use frequency. Results: Low self-control was neither a significant nor gendered predictor of drug use frequency when controlling for effects of drug-use peers and family attachment. Drug-use peers strongly increased participants' drug use frequency, regardless of gender. However, an important finding is that for males, support from families reduced drug use frequency but conversely meeting and contact with families increased drug use frequency. For females, only trust in families prevented their further involvement in drug use. Discussion and Conclusions: Low self-control may not be a core explanatory factor for drug use behaviours in China. Thus, treatment programs should focus more on skills building than self-control. Future programs could focus more on reducing association with their drug-use peers and further explore the complex relationships with their families. Gender should be considered in treatment options.

TidsskriftDrug and Alcohol Review
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Prof Hua Zhong for her generous support with this research. The first author also expresses her sincere thanks to the Department of Sociology at University of Copenhagen for hosting a research stay during which the analytical part was developed. Additionally, the first author thanks David Brewster for his insightful revision comments on the draft. The research was supported by the Seed Funding Support for Thesis Research and Direct Grant (Code: 4052153) from the Faculty of Social Science at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs.

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