Do High-Performing Schools Lead to Less Risky Teen Marijuana Use?

Bottom Line: Results of admissions lotteries at five high-performing public charter schools in low-income minority communities in Los Angeles, California, were used to examine the relationship between exposure to high-performing schools and risky teen behaviors. The admissions lotteries served as a natural experiment in this study of 1,270 students who applied to at least 1 of the 5 high schools. The study’s primary outcome was self-reported marijuana use but it also looked at other health outcomes and factors. Winning the admissions lottery was associated with less marijuana misuse. The authors call school environments an important prevention tool that should be targeted in addressing social determinants of health.

Authors: Rebecca N. Dudovitz, M.D., M.S., of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, and coauthors

Related Material: The editorial, “Addressing Risky Health Behaviors Among Vulnerable Youth Through the School Environment: Location, Location, Location,” by Kendra S. Liljenquist, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, and Yumaini R. Corker, M.D., M.B.A., of Seattle Children’s Research Institute, both in Seattle, Washington, also is available on the For The Media website.

 

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.3074)