Drug and alcohol use, sexual intimacy and associated health status of senior high school students: implications for learning and schooling

Susannah Tye, Wilhelmina van Rooy, Irina Pollard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives: To better recognize key maturational processes that drive adolescent socio-sexual activity and to explore the context in which this occurs. Since schools are one place where health choices should be debated in a supportive learning and teaching environment, the present study focuses on lifestyle choices and attitudes to health of Australian adolescents and identifies characteristics which link drug and alcohol use, health and resilience, sexual intimacy and/or sexual experience. Methods & Results: Students (n=440) from diverse ethnicity, aged 15-17 at a range of New South Wales secondary schools were surveyed to ascertain their drug and alcohol use and their self-perceived physical and mental health condition. Six focus areas emerged from analysis of the data – drug use, diet and drug use, drug use and health/wellbeing ratings, drug use versus health/wellbeing by ethnicity, frequency of drug use, intimacy and sexual activity and awareness of contraception. Conclusion and Schooling Implications: The strongest motive for drug consumption was enjoyment and peer pressure. Many respondents reported their wide experience with sexual partners before age 17 with the use of contraception, notably the condom and acknowledgment of the responsibility of both partners in the relationship. Significant gender associations between drug use and sexual behavior and low health/happiness ratings were found in girls but not in boys. Students commented on the lack of meaningful information and discussion about their physical and mental health, their choice of lifestyle and the impact of these on their future provided by teachers and schools.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-30
    Number of pages8
    JournalEubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics : EJAIB
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Adolescence
    • Human growth and development
    • Bioscience ethics
    • Drug use
    • Drug addiction
    • Sexuality and sexual experience
    • Sex education at schools
    • Happiness ratings
    • Stress
    • Ethics
    • Bioethics


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