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Adolescent Involvement in Legal and Illegal Drug Use: A Multiple Classification Analysis

Denise B. Kandel, Donald Treiman, Richard Faust and Eric Single
Social Forces
Vol. 55, No. 2 (Dec., 1976), pp. 438-458
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2576234
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2576234
Page Count: 21
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Adolescent Involvement in Legal and Illegal Drug Use: A Multiple Classification Analysis
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Abstract

To estimate the relative importance of demographic, interpersonal, and personal factors on adolescent drug use, dummy variable regression analyses were conducted on matched adolescent-parent-best schoolfriend triads (N = 1,112) from five public secondary schools in New York State. The findings indicate that the legal drugs, such as hard liquor and tobacco, are strong precursors to illicit drug use. Three stages of drug use are differentiated: (1) legal substances, (2) marihuana, and (3) illicit drugs other than marihuana. Different processes and factors are involved at each stage. General sociability is most important with respect to hard liquor. Drug use by one's peers is most important with respect to marihuana use. If their friends use marihuana, most adolescents will also do so, irrespective of social, psychological, or familial characteristics. Progression to other drugs does not depend as strongly on values and activities characterizing the peer group. Quality of relationships between parent and adolescent and the adolescent's personal adjustment and school performance become important. A developmental model is proposed to account for adolescent involvement in legal and illegal drugs.

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