Socio-Demographic Variability in Adolescent Substance Use: Mediation by Parents and Peers

Wang, Jing; Simons-Morton, Bruce G.; Farhart, Tilda; Luk, Jeremy W.
December 2009
Prevention Science;Dec2009, Vol. 10 Issue 4, p387
Academic Journal
The current study examined socio-demographic variability in adolescent substance use and the mediating roles of maternal knowledge, paternal knowledge and peer substance use. The data were obtained from the United States records (N = 8,795) of the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children 2005/2006 Survey, in grades 6 through 10. The analyses employed multiple indicator multiple cause and structural equation models. Adolescent substance use was measured by frequencies of alcohol use, being drunk, and cigarette and marijuana use in the past month. Peer influence had a direct influence on adolescent substance use. Maternal knowledge had both direct and indirect influences on adolescent substance use through its negative association with substance-using peers, whereas paternal knowledge only had an indirect influence. Parental knowledge and peer substance use totally mediated differences in adolescent substance use by grade; differences between Caucasian and African-American or Hispanic adolescents; and differences between adolescents from two-parent families and those from single-mother, single-father or mother-stepfather families. Parental knowledge and peer substance were important mediators which largely accounted for variability in the prevalence of adolescent substance use by grade, race/ethnicity, and family structure.


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