AJPH March 2015 highlights

Date: Mar 19 2015

FOR EMBARGOED RELEASE

EMBARGOED AJPH research: Marijuana use and school suspension, alcohol interlock devices, men’s conversations with friends

In this month’s release, find new embargoed research about school drug policies and marijuana use; the impact of mandating alcohol interlock devices in cars; and the impact of men’s conversations with friends on instances of sexual aggression.

EMBARGOED UNTIL March 19, 2015, 4 p.m. (EDT)

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of an issue, call Kimberly Short, 202-777-2511, or email her.

American Journal of Public Health highlights:

1. Schools using out-of-school suspension drug policy show increased likelihood of marijuana use

2. Alcohol interlock devices could prevent 83 percent of alcohol-related car crash fatalities

3. Men’s conversations with friends may be associated with instances of sexual violence

Note: Hyperlinks to the studies will go live following the embargo lift on March 19, 2015, at 4 p.m. EDT

Schools using out-of-school suspension drug policy show increased likelihood of marijuana use
Schools where administrators report using out-of-school suspension to enforce drug policy and where students report low policy enforcement, regardless of the type of drug policy adopted, show an increased likelihood of marijuana use, according to new research from the American Journal of Public Health. Schools that used abstinence-based prevention and those that counseled students about the dangers of marijuana use showed a lower likelihood of marijuana use.

Researchers used data from the International Youth Development Study in which they analyzed results from 3,264 students in grades 7 and 9 from Washington state and Victoria, Australia.  They also surveyed the school administrators of the 188 schools the students attended. Survey responses were reviewed from two waves in 2002 and 2003. Students and administrators were asked about school policies and enforcement and students self-reported on their marijuana use. Researchers sought to understand how student marijuana use is impacted by the type of drug policy adopted. They also investigated how strongly the school drug policy was enforced and the degree to which the policy was based on abstinence and harm minimization principles.

The study reveals that students who attended schools with policies of out-of-school suspensions for incidents of illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely than students in schools without policies of out-of-school suspension to be users of marijuana the following year. This effect was observed for all students in the school and not just those who were suspended. In contrast, counseling and abstinence-based drug policies were associated with schools showing lower likelihood of marijuana use.

“Schools may reduce student marijuana use by delivering abstinence messages, enforcing non-use policies, and adopting a remedial approach for policy violations rather than use of suspensions” the researchers conclude.

“Importantly, these findings are robust across the two states with differing national contexts, showing for the first time the impact of school policy on marijuana use.”

“It is important for schools and state and federal agencies to identify effective methods for preventing marijuana use”, said lead author Tracy Evans-Whipp.

[“Longitudinal effects of school drug policies on student marijuana use in Washington state and Victoria, Australia.” Contact: Tracy J. Evans-Whipp, PhD, Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Victoria, Australia.]


Alcohol interlock devices could prevent 83 percent of alcohol-related car crash fatalities
New research from the American Journal of Public Health finds that a policy mandating that alcohol interlock devices be installed in all new vehicles could result in preventing 85 percent of alcohol-related crash fatalities over a period of 15 years.

The study investigated the impact of alcohol interlock devices, which are designed to measure blood alcohol content through a breath-testing unit connected to the ignition and, in turn, prevent vehicle operation if the BAC reaches a specified limit. Researchers used 2006-2010 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the National Automotive Sampling System’s General Estimates System to analyze fatalities and nonfatal injuries from alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes. Impact on the number of deaths and injuries prevented through use of an alcohol interlock device were then estimated for the next 15 years. The study also estimated the societal cost savings should the alcohol interlock devices be universally installed in cars.

Findings indicate that a policy that mandates universal use of alcohol interlock devices would result in preventing 85 percent of alcohol-related crash fatalities and between 84 and 88 percent of non-fatal crash injuries over a 15-year period. This totals an estimated 59,554 lives saved and 1.25 million non-fatal alcohol-related crash injuries prevented. Drivers between the ages of 21-29, who are considered most at-risk for alcohol-related crash injuries, were found to have the greatest benefit with 35 percent of all prevented deaths and injuries. Implementation would also save an estimated $342 billion in injury-related costs.

“[Current interlock devices] are used in all 50 states for multiple DWI offenders, either as a Department of Motor Vehicles mandated condition of license reinstatement or as a component of DWI judicial sentencing. Interlocks are highly effective while installed on the vehicle, with a systematic review finding a 67 percent median reduction in DWI recidivism,” the authors share.

“Our research demonstrates that by capitalizing on recent technological advancements that make breathalyzer sensors seamless to the driver and applying interlock technology more broadly to be installed in all newly built vehicles, we can have an even greater injury prevention impact, especially among traditionally hard-to-reach high-risk populations,” the authors also report.

[“Modeling the injury prevention impact of mandatory alcohol ignition interlock installation in all new U.S. vehicles.” Contact: Patrick M. Carter, MD, University of Michigan Injury Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan.]

Men’s conversations with friends may be associated with instances of sexual violence
According to new research from the American Journal of Public Health, men’s discussions with friends can foster environments that encourage or discourage instances of sexual aggression. One quarter of men surveyed reported making a woman engage in sexual activity when they were aware she was unwilling or unable to provide consent.

The study reviewed interview responses from more than 400 men, aged 18 to 35 who were asked about dating experiences. All participants were residents of the Detroit metropolitan area. The exploratory data also included responses to a number of measures including the Sexual Experiences Survey, which measured instances of sexual aggression; the Social Support Questionnaire, which assessed level of satisfaction with male friends; the Peer Support for Forced Sex measure, which assessed perceived pressure from friends to engage in sex; and the Comfort with Sexism scale, which measured participants’ comfort level with objectifying statements. Responses and language in interviews were coded to evaluate language usage about women and pressure from male friend groups.

Male perpetrators of sexual aggression perceived more pressure from friends to have sex. In addition, they were more likely to be uncomfortable with egalitarian statements made about women and dating and were more likely to have friends who used objectifying statements about women in conversation, compared to men who were not perpetrators of sexual aggression.

“Our study examined the role of perceived pressure to have sex by any means and the types of language friends used when discussing women in predicting young men’s self-reported sexual aggression. Although studies with college samples are important, our study filled a gap in the literature by using a community sample of young men from a large metropolitan area in the United States,” the authors explained.

[“Friends matter: Protective and harmful aspects of male friendships associated with past-year sexual aggression in a community sample of young men.” Contact: Angela J. Jacques-Tiura, PhD, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.]

Find a full list of research papers to be published online on March 19, 2015, at 4 p.m. EDT below:

  • Trends in Sexual Orientation Missing Data Over a Decade of the California Health Interview Survey
  • Liver disease deaths exceed HIV, overdose among Georgia prisoners and releases: A two decade cohort study of prisoners incarcerated in 1991 
  • Perspectives of Maryland Adults Regarding Caries Prevention 
  • Are hospitals' community benefit activities aligned with community health needs? Evidence from a national investigation of tax-exempt hospitals.  
  • Disparities in Tuberculosis Burden among South Asians Living in New York City, 2001-2010 
  • Mortality hazard and survival after tuberculosis treatment 
  • Racial/ethnic and socioeconomic differences in short-term breast cancer survival among women in an integrated health system 
  • Emergency Department Visits for Non-Traumatic Dental Problems: A Mixed Methods Study 
  • Factors associated with increased cesarean risk among African-American women: evidence from California, 2010 
  • Association Between ART Conception and Autism in California 1997-2007 
  • An evaluation of two-dose varicella vaccination coverage in the absence of a school requirement among New York City (NYC) public schools 
  • The Influence of Provider Communication Behaviors on Parental Vaccine Acceptance and Visit Experience 
  • Suicide Ideation and Bullying among U.S. Adolescents: Examining the Intersections of Sexual Orientation, Gender & Race/Ethnicity 
  • The Impact of the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Youth Suicide Prevention Program on Suicide Mortality 
  • Longitudinal effects of school drug policies on student marijuana use in Washington State, US and Victoria, Australia
  • Friends Matter: Protective and Harmful Aspects of Male Friendships Associated with Past Year Sexual Aggression in a Community Sample of Young Men 
  • Engagement in transactional sex among men who have sex with men in Latin America: A multilevel analysis of economic, sociodemographic, and psychosocial factors 
  • Images of a Healthy Worksite: A Group-Randomized Trial of Worksite Multiple-Component Interventions for Weight Gain Prevention with Employee Participation in Intervention Design 
  • The longitudinal joint effect of obesity and major depression on work performance impairment 
  • "When you're in a crisis like that, you don't want people to know": Mortgage Strain, Stigma and Mental Health 
  • Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act: Potential Changes in Receipt of Mental Health Treatment among Low-Income Nonelderly Adults with Serious Mental Illness
  • Loneliness as a public health issue: The impact of loneliness on healthcare utilization among older adults 
  • Effects of 2009 Illinois Alcohol Tax Increase on Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes 
  • Asian American Problem Drinking Trajectories during the Transition to Adulthood: Ethnic Drinking Cultures and Neighborhood Contexts 
  • Modeling the Injury Prevention Impact of Mandatory Alcohol Ignition Interlock Installation in All New U.S. Vehicles 
  • Violence Against Women in Selected Areas of the United States  
  • Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus among Arab- and Chaldean-Americans in Southeastern Michigan: Michigan Lupus Epidemiology & Surveillance (MILES) Program 
  • Neighborhood availability of convenience stores and diet quality: findings from 20 years of follow-up in CARDIA
  • THE Enduring Effects of Smoking in Latin America: A Losing Battle?
  • Development of the Policy Indicator Checklist: A Tool to Identify and Measure Policies for Calorie Dense Foods and Sugar Sweetened Beverages across Multiple Settings 
  • Neighborhood Disadvantage, Preconception Stressful Life Events and Infant Birth Weight  

The articles above will be published online March 19, 2015, at 4 p.m. (EDT) by the American Journal of Public Health under “First Look.” “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or email her. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association. APHA champions the health of all people and all communities by strengthening the profession of public health, sharing the latest research and information, promoting best practices and advocating for public health issues and policies grounded in research. More information is available at www.apha.org.