Social skills as precursors of cannabis use in young adolescents: A trails study
Social skills (cooperation, assertion, and self-control) were assessed by teachers for a longitudinal cohort of (pre)adolescents, with measurements at average ages 11.1 (baseline) and 16.3 years (follow-up). Prospective associations with participants' self-reported use of cannabis, (age of) onset of cannabis use, and frequency of use at follow-up were examined using multinomial logistic regression analyses. Teacher-reported social skills predicted different aspects of cannabis use independent of better known factors such as presence of externalizing behavior and use of other substances. The direction of associations depended on the type of social skill. Good cooperation skills during early adolescence were associated with a reduced risk of lifetime cannabis use and a reduced risk of using cannabis on a regular basis. On the other hand, assertion at age 11 increased the risk of lifetime cannabis use and of using cannabis on an experimental basis.