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Cumulative protective factors are associated with decreased risk for prescription opioid misuse among high school students


Background Multiple protective factors at the individual and environmental levels have been associated with prescription opioid misuse (POM) among adolescents. The literature may benefit by extending this research to consider the association between cumulative protective factors and current (ie, within the past 30 days) POM.

Methods The 2017 Virginia Youth Survey (part of the Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System) (N=3697) was used to investigate recent POM and the presence of individual and cumulative protective factors among high school students. Youth were asked to indicate whether they had engaged POM within the past 30 days. A set of protective factors representing youths’ internal assets (eg, aspirational plans for education) and external resources (eg, family meals, safe school environment) were investigated as predictors of current POM, followed by testing of a cumulative protective factor score. Logistic regression models estimated ORs and 95% CIs.

Results When including demographics and risk factors in the model, none of the individual protective factors were significantly associated with current POM. Alternatively, the cumulative protective factor score was significantly associated with a decrease in the odds of current POM.

Conclusions The cumulative protective factor score was significantly associated with a decrease in the odds of current POM among high school students in Virginia. Programmes designed to provide multiple forms of support may be effective strategies for preventing current POM.

  • health promotion
  • surveillance
  • social factors in
  • drug misuse

Data availability statement

No data are available. Data are not available to the public for general use.

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