Illicit Drug Use and Political Involvement amongst Contemporary Young British Citizens: A Psychological Perspective

P. Murphy, L. Riley, A. Kempson, M. Wareing, L.C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It has been argued that the apparent alienation of young Britons from involvement in conventional politics, as seen by their low turn out in the 2001 general election, may be partly due to the mismatch between their experience of, and attitudes towards, illicit drugs, and the traditional policies of the mainstream parties which have favoured their continued prohibition (e.g. Lilley, 2001). In the absence of direct evidence for such a relationship. other evidence from both the illicit drug use and political literatures respectively was examined from the viewpoint of the psychological mediation of behaviour in both areas. It was concluded that illicit drug use might not be regarded as normal behaviour by young people to the extent argued by some researchers, and that given the range of personal social meanings which users have been found to attach to this behaviour, great caution was needed when inferring social and political attitudes in this population. Important future research could include an examination of locus of control and self-efficacy beliefs, especially with those involved in active campaigning on drug related issues. Until such research is conducted, the hypothesized relationship between illicit drug use and political behaviour remains a matter of conjecture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-174
JournalCitizenship Social and Economics Education
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007

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