Prevalence of substance use and delinquent behavior in adolescents from Victoria, Australia and Washington State, United States.

Abstract

This article compares prevalence estimates of substance use and delinquent behavior in Washington State, United States and Victoria, Australia, two states chosen for their different policy environments around problem behavior. Few comparisons of international differences on rates of multiple problem behavior exist, and most are based on methods that are not matched, raising the question of whether findings are based on methodological differences rather than actual rate differences. The International Youth Development Study used standardized methods to recruit and administer an adaptation of the Communities That Care Youth Survey to representative state samples of fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-grade students in each state. Rates of delinquent behavior were generally comparable. However, striking differences in substance use were noted, with Victoria students reporting higher rates of alcohol use, alcohol misuse, smoking, and inhalant use, whereas Washington State students reported higher rates of marijuana use. Implications for conducting international comparisons are discussed.

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