Development of a scale to measure adolescents' drug use resistance self-efficacy

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Drug use resistance self-efficacy (RSE) refers to one's beliefs about her or his capability to resist drug offers. Previous research suggests that RSE beliefs play an important role in preventing, delaying and curbing drug use among adolescents. Despite the potential impact of RSE beliefs on drug use, few carefully tested instruments are currently available to assess this construct among young adolescents. The purpose of this research was to develop and evaluate the underlying structure and initial psychometric properties of a newly developed instrument, the Drug Use Resistance Self-Efficacy (DURSE) scale.

Development and testing of the instrument occurred in four research phases: 1) a literature review; 2) expert review (n=10) and adolescent focus groups (n=15); 3) pilot testing of preliminary items (n=46); and 4) final scale administration (n=283) to examine main research questions (n=283). Exploratory factor analysis was used to test the factor structure of the DURSE scale and examine whether the DURSE scale captured aspects of RSE beliefs that differed from existing measures. Initial psychometric properties of the DURSE scale were evaluated.

Factor analysis demonstrated that many of the DURSE items loaded on two drug-specific dimensions of RSE beliefs though justification for separate subscales was not warranted. DURSE items measured a unique construct when compared with related scales. Initial psychometric properties of the DURSE scale, including internal consistency reliability and construct validity, were satisfactory. As predicted, students who reported higher RSE beliefs reported significantly higher academic grades (r = .147, p < .05) and lower self-reported intentions to use drugs (r = -.329, p < .01). Higher RSE beliefs were negatively associated with reported family drug use (r = -.060) though the relationship was not significant. DURSE scores were significantly correlated with scores on the Social Desirability scale (r = .197, p < .01) indicating that students may have answered certain DURSE items in a socially desirable way.

The initial development of the DURSE instrument offers a promising first step in the scale development process. It is left to future research to refine the DURSE scale and establish its factor structure and psychometric properties in a larger, more representative sample.