The changing profile of drug use has highlighted the need for age-appropriate education which requires insight into children's representations of drugs.
Representations were elicited from 134 children aged between 5 and 11 years, drawn from two schools, by asking them to draw and write their responses to questions relating to a story about losing and finding a bag of drugs.
Relevant responses were generated by 119 children aged between 8 and 11 years.
A content analysis of these responses revealed differences with school and age.
Older children were more likely to recognize that drugs can be good or bad depending on type, quantity taken and reason for use.
The children had firm ideas about who takes drugs and their motivations and were knowledgeable about methods of use.
They recognized that drugs can be dangerous, but had little understanding of how or why.
The children's representations were characterized by fear and uncertainty and most wanted to know more.
These findings are used to argue that there is a need for child-centred constructivist approaches to drug education which seek to demystify drugs and drug use and to orientate children to the realities of the world of drugs in the 1990s.
Mots-clés Pascal : Perception sociale, Toxicomanie, Education sanitaire, Représentation sociale, Age chronologique, Etude comparative, Ecole primaire, Age scolaire, Enfant, Homme, Préadolescent
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Social perception, Drug addiction, Health education, Social representation, Chronological age, Comparative study, Primary school, School age, Child, Human, Preadolescent
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 96-0491162
Code Inist : 002A26J03B. Création : 10/04/1997.