Over the past two decades, alcohol consumption of Icelandic adolescents has decreased dramatically. The aim of this study was to quantify the extent of this reduction and compare it with the trend in cannabis use over a 20 year period and to identify possible explanations.
We used data from the Icelandic participants to the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs study (collected via paper-and-pencil questionnaires in classrooms). The sample included all students in the 10th grade (54-89% response rate).
The percentage of participants who had never used alcohol during their lifetime rose from 20.8% in 1995 to 65.5% in 2015. Similarly, there was a decline in the proportion of students who had consumed alcohol 40 times or more, from 13.7% to 2.8%. During the same period, the number of students who had never used cannabis rose from 90.2% to 92.0%. In contrast, we found a small, but statistically significant, increase in the prevalence of those who had used cannabis 40 times or more, from 0.7% in 1995 to 2.3% in 2015. Parental monitoring increased markedly between 1995 and 2015, but availability of alcohol decreased. Perceived access to cannabis and youth attitudes towards substance use remained unchanged.
Although Iceland has enjoyed success in lowering alcohol use among adolescents over the past decades, and somewhat fewer claim to have ever tried cannabis, there has been a threefold increase among heavy users of cannabis. Increased parental monitoring and decreased availability of alcohol explain some of the changes seen.
OBJECTIVE: Frequency of heavy alcohol use among adolescents is examined by family structure and propensity toward heavy alcohol use on the individual level, and by alcohol availability and drinking patterns among adolescents on the societal level. The analysis includes direct effects and moderating effects of societal-level indicators on individual-level associations between family structure and frequency of heavy alcohol use. METHOD: The study drew upon self-reports from 34,001 students in Cyprus, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom participating in the 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs study. Distinctions were drawn between adolescents living with both parents, a single mother, a single father, a mother and stepfather, a father and stepmother, and neither biological parent. The multilevel analysis estimated the effects of societal-level factors on the intercepts and slopes of individual-level regression models. RESULTS: Adolescents living with both biological parents engaged less frequently in heavy alcohol use than those living in any other arrangements. Living with a single mother was associated with less heavy drinking than living with a single father or with neither biological parent. National beer sales figures and societal patterns of heavy adolescent alcohol use predicted more frequent heavy drinking and greater effects of living in nonintact families. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent heavy drinking is more common in all types of nonintact families. The adverse effect of living in nonintact families is greater in societies where alcohol availability is greater and where adolescents drink more heavily.
Adolescent perceptions of the risks associated with the use of licit and illicit substances have important implications for policy and research. However, the methodological properties of the most popular risk measures in school surveys in Europe and the United States are not well understood. This study examines the potential contrast effects of risk measures of "heavy" and frequent substance use on perceived risks of occasional, moderate, and "experimental" use. Responses to 11 measures of the perceived risk of occasional smoking, moderate drinking, and experimental use of illicit substances were compared between two question forms administered to a split-half sample of all Icelandic ninth (14-15 years of age) and tenth (15-16 years of age) grade students present in class on the day of administration in March 2003 (N = 7099). In one form, only these 11 questions were used, while the other form also contained 13 questions on the perceived risk of heavy smoking, heavy drinking, and regular use of illicit substances. The longer form is found to decrease response rates and suppress estimates of perceived risk of experimental illicit substance use. Question form and perceived risks of heavy and regular use generally do not affect the multivariate effects of perceived risks of occasional, moderate, and experimental substance use on lifetime abstinence from each substance. It is argued that measures of perceived risks of heavy and regular substance use are less useful for prevention policy and research than are corresponding measures of occasional, moderate, and experimental substance use, and including the former in the same instrument may adversely affect the measurement of the latter constructs.
AIMS: This study seeks to establish (1) if different types of non-traditional family structures are related equally to adolescent cigarette smoking; (2) if each type of family structure is related equally to adolescent smoking in different countries and (3) if differences in such patterns can be explained by the prevalence of such family structures in each country. DESIGN: Self-reported cigarette smoking among 33 978 students in Cyprus, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom is analysed with multi-level hierarchical regression models. FINDINGS: Adolescents living with both biological parents smoke less than those living with single mothers, who in turn smoke less than those living with single fathers, mothers-stepfathers, or with neither biological parent. Living with fathers-stepmothers is associated with less smoking than living with single fathers, mother-stepfathers, or with neither biological parent, but does not differ from living with both biological parents or single mothers. The effects of living with single mothers, single fathers, or with neither biological parent are stronger in countries where such family types are less common. Differences in the strength of effects between countries become non-significant once the prevalence of each family type has been taken into account. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescents living with both biological parents smoke less than their counterparts in most other family types, and adolescents living with single mothers or fathers-stepmothers smoke less than those living in other non-traditional family structures. The strength of this pattern varies inversely with the prevalence of such households in each country.
Psychological distress is a serious problem among unemployed youth, and may lead to various social and psychological problems. In this study, we examine patterns of distress among previously unemployed youth that have experienced five different labor market outcomes over a period of 6 months in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Scotland and Sweden. We find that moving beyond unemployment is associated with less distress, in particular among those who have found permanent employment, but also among those who have found temporary employment, have returned to school, or are staying at home. Perceptions of material deprivation and parental emotional support directly affect distress in all labor market outcomes, and mediate the effects of various other factors on such distress. The effects of socio-demographic characteristics, living arrangements, unemployment history and attitudes, and parental support are found to be specific to gender and labor market outcomes, while the effects of material deprivation are uniform across all such categories. Further studies are needed to disentangle structural and individual effects, the causal complexities involved in processes of social support, and to determine the extent to which such models equally predict psychological distress among the unemployed and other groups of youth.
BACKGROUND: A positive association between time spent on sedentary screen-based activities and physical complaints has been reported, but the cumulative association between different types of screen-based activities and physical complaints has not been examined thoroughly. METHODS: The cross-sectional association between screen-based activity and physical complaints (backache and headache) among students was examined in a sample of 31022 adolescents from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Greenland, as part of the Health behaviour in school-aged children 2005/06 (HBSC) study. Daily hours spent on screen-based activities and levels of physical complaints were assessed using self-reports. RESULTS: Logistic regression analysis indicated that computer use, computer gaming and TV viewing contributed uniquely to prediction of weekly backache and headache. The magnitude of associations was consistent across types of screen based activities, and across gender. CONCLUSION: The observed associations indicate that time spent on screen-based activity is a contributing factor to physical complaints among young people, and that effects accumulate across different types of screen-based activities.
Iceland is sparsely populated but social justice and equity has been emphasised within healthcare. The aim of the study is to examine healthcare services in Fjallabyggð, in rural northern Iceland, from users' perspective and evaluate social justice, access and quality of healthcare in an age of austerity. Mixed-method approach with transformative design was used. First, data were collected with questionnaires (response rate of 53% [N=732] in 2009 and 30% [N=415] in 2012), and analysed statistically, followed by 10 interviews with healthcare users (2009 and 2014). The results were integrated and interpreted within Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Model. There was significantly less satisfaction with accessibility and variety of healthcare services in 2012 after services downsizing. Solid primary healthcare, good local elderly care, some freedom in healthcare choice and reliable emergency services were considered fundamental for life in a rural area. Equal access to healthcare is part of a fundamental human right. In times of economic downturn, people in rural areas, who are already vulnerable, may become even more vulnerable and disadvantaged, seriously threatening social justice and equity. With severe cutbacks in vitally important healthcare services people may eventually choose to self-migrate.
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Suicidality is an important public health problem, particularly among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adolescents and young adults. The purpose of the present study is to compare the rate of suicide ideations and attempts among LGB adolescent to that of non-LGB adolescents in a population-based sample, and to identify important protective factors as well as risk factors Method: We used the Icelandic data set from the 2009/2010 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The sample consisted of 3813 grade 10 Icelandic adolescents; 1876 girls and 1937 boys. The participants were asked about attraction and/or activity, as well as about suicidal ideation and/or attempts. The questionnaire also included various other items regarding health and lifestyle.
LGB adolescents were five to six times more likely to have had frequent suicidal ideations. Factors that were associated with less suicide ideations and fewer attempts were easy communication and liking school. The LGB girls were six times more likely to have had frequent suicide attempts, whilst the LGB boys were 17 times more likely to have attempted suicide that often. No specific protective or risk factors were identified for suicidality in LGB adolescents other than bullying.
Adolescents that had engaged in heterosexual activity and those that had LGB attraction had similarly heightened risk for suicidality, but sexually active LGB adolescents were far more likely to have suicidal ideations or to have attempted suicide.