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25-03-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2017

Parents, Peers, Perceived Risk of Harm, and the Neighborhood: Contextualizing Key Influences on Adolescent Substance Use

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2017
Auteurs:
Gregory M. Zimmerman, Chelsea Farrell

Abstract

Recent research has affirmed the need to examine contextual influences on adolescent substance use in a multilevel framework. This study examined the role of neighborhood opportunities for substance use in promoting adolescent substance use. Data came from two components of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods: the Longitudinal Cohort Study, consisting of interviews with youth and their primary caregivers across three waves of data with an average span of 4.5 years; and a Community Survey of neighborhood residents. Analysis used an Item-Response Theory-based statistical approach on 6556 substance use item responses from 1639 youth (49.0 % female) within 80 neighborhoods to assess the extent to which neighborhood opportunities for substance use had direct and indirect effects on adolescent substance use. Neither direct nor mediated effects of neighborhood opportunities for substance use on adolescent substance use were detected. But, analyses revealed moderating effects such that higher levels of neighborhood opportunities for substance use: (1) amplified the detrimental effects of parental substance use and peer substance use on youth substance use; and (2) attenuated the protective effect of adolescents’ perceived harm of substance use on adolescent substance use. The results suggest that the ways in which neighborhood characteristics impact adolescent behavior are nuanced. Rather than impact individual-level outcomes directly, neighborhood context may be particularly relevant by conditioning the effects of salient individual-level risk and protective factors for substance use.

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