Positive and Negative Time Attitudes, Intrinsic Motivation, Behavioral Engagement and Substance Use Among Urban Adolescents
Behavioral engagement in schools is an important contributor to academic outcomes for adolescents, but may also protect them from substance abuse. Positive and negative attitudes to the past, present, and future have been linked to adaptive and maladaptive behaviors in adolescence, respectively, but there is a need for research that examines whether time attitudes promote behavioral engagement and lower risk for substance use.
Structural equation models involving 1961 diverse high school students were utilized, which controlled for sex, GPA, and alcohol use.
Positive time attitudes were positively associated with behavioral engagement and students’ GPA. Girls had stronger levels of behavioral engagement. Positive time attitudes were indirectly associated with less marijuana use via intrinsic motivation, engagement, and less alcohol use. The indirect effect of positive time attitudes on engagement via intrinsic motivation was significant and substantial. In a second structural model, the researchers examined the effects of negative time attitudes, intrinsic motivation, and behavioral engagement on marijuana use. Negative time attitudes and intrinsic motivation were indirectly associated with less marijuana use via behavioral engagement. Both models explained 41% of the variance in engagement and 36% of the variance in marijuana use, suggesting that positive and negative time attitudes are equally valuable in understanding academic engagement and marijuana use among adolescents. A third model indicated that behavioral engagement was negatively related to a latent variable composed of binge alcohol use and alcohol use.
Implications for practice and future research are discussed, as the current findings suggest the importance of positive time attitudes as promotive of behavioral engagement and protective against substance use.
Research in Context
The study shows a link between how pupils feel about the past, present and future and their classroom behavior. This in turn influences their grades and risk of substance misuse.
Action is needed now more than ever to keep teenagers positively engaged. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many teenagers struggling with online study, suffering mentally and using alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism.
they’re [teenagers] more likely to be enthusiastic learners and not use [use alcohol] and drugs if teachers take time to build more positive relationships with them. They can help students see that everything they’re learning is truly valuable. Parents have a role to play too,” said John Mark Froiland, main author of the study, from Purdue University in Indiana, US, as per Medical Xpress.John Mark Froiland, main author of the study, Purdue University in Indiana, US