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Drug use history as a moderator of the effects of virtuous orientation on the realization of drug harm in youth

Steven Sek-yum Ngai, Jacky Chau-kiu Cheung and Yuen-hang Ng

Children and Youth Services Review, 2018, vol. 95, issue C, 1-11

Abstract: Illicit drug use by youth has been recognized as a form a delinquency, leading to health and social risks. Strengthening virtuous orientation, including morally good traits that are learnable, to enhance their realization of drug harm has been one of the major components in the prevention of illicit drug use. Drug use history might trigger a cascading effect from cognitive impairment, decreased virtuous orientation, increased irrational thinking to reduced realization of drug harm in keeping with cognitive-developmental theory. Consequently, the objective of this paper is to study the role of drug use history in moderating the effect of virtuous orientation on realization of drug harm. This study recruited 169 at-risk youths who were drug users through two agencies, which provided district youth outreaching social work service in Hong Kong, with a two-wave panel survey. The time interval between an initial and a follow-up survey was 6.6 months. Results show that Wave 2 virtuous orientation fostered Wave 2 realization of drug harm, controlling for Wave 1 realization of drug harm and demographic characteristics. Additionally, drug use history moderated the effect of virtuous orientation on the realization of drug harm. For the youth with shorter drug use history, virtuous orientation significantly increased realization of drug harm. However, for those with longer drug use history, this positive effect was non-significant. In conclusion, these results encourage strengthening virtuous orientation to increase the realization of drug harm, particularly among those with shorter drug use history.

Keywords: Virtuous orientation; Realization of drug harm; Drug use history (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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