A comparison of drug knowledge and attitude in primary(5/6) and Secondary (2/3) school pupils
(2015) A comparison of drug knowledge and attitude in primary(5/6) and Secondary (2/3) school pupils, no. 28.
INTRODUCTION Research has not paid much attention to children in primary school regarding their knowledge of drugs and attitude to substance use compared with the secondary school aged population. The aim of this study is to assess and analyse school pupils drug knowledge and awareness, what is taught within the curriculum, their attitude towards drugs, peer-pressure and their decision making skills. Thus, in turn, accessing whether pupils are achieving expected curriculum outcomes and any future direction in interventions. METHODS This cross-sectional study was conducted in February in Edinburgh. The subjects of the study were primary (younger) and secondary (older) school pupils. The 148 participants, aged 9-14 years, responded to a self-administered questionnaire consisting of 9 questions and 24 items. The analysis was based on frequency of responses to individual questions and, where appropriate, cross tabulations (using the Chi-Square statistical test) to compare and identify statistically significant differences between particular group. RESULTS There was a significant difference in secondary pupils knowing more drugs name specifically cannabis and heroin compare to primary (0.001 and 0.000). Majority of pupils in both groups did not feel peer pressure. Drug knowledge gained was from multiple sources in both school groups. In primary school pupils had a significantly better attitude towards substance use in some outcomes (0.000 and 0.008) meanwhile secondary school pupils had a better understanding of drug knowledge in some outcomes. CONCLUSION Overall, both groups of pupils' drug knowledge and attitude towards substance use was good in terms of what they already knew. Older secondary pupils had heard of more drugs by name and appeared to have a higher autonomy from parents in getting drug related knowledge compare to Younger primary school pupils. It seems attitude about substance use among primary school was encouraging while in secondary school pupil it was slightly lacking on some outcomes but they did have a better drug knowledge and its effect on the body. Future interventions need multifaceted approach in targeting social and environmental factors of school aged children. KEY WORDS Drug knowledge and attitude, primary, secondary, , substance use, children, young people, school pupils