This study extends previous research investigating the developmental pathways predicting adolescent alcohol and marijuana use by examining the cascading effects of externalizing and internalizing symptoms and academic competence in the prediction of use and level of use of these substances in adolescence. Participants (N = 191) were drawn from a longitudinal study of first-born children of low-income mothers. Using data from ages 7, 9, 12, and 16 years, a series of nested two-part (semi-continuous) path models from a developmental cascade modeling framework were compared. Controlling for gender, SES, mother’s age at child’s birth, and minority status, we found (a) within-domain rank order stability across time, (b) significant cross-domain effects over time, (c) higher externalizing symptoms significantly predicted use of alcohol and marijuana as well as higher levels of use in adolescence, and (d) higher levels of academic competence significantly added to the prediction of use of alcohol.
Alcohol use; marijuana use; externalizing symptoms; internalizing symptoms; academic achievement; adolescent substance use
This study examined the co-occurrence of subtypes of substance use and bullying behaviors using latent class analysis and evaluated latent class differences in demographic characteristics, peer and parental influences. Self-reported questionnaire data were collected from a nationally representative sample (N = 7508) of 6–10th grade adolescents in the United States. Four latent classes were identified: the non-involved (57.7%), substance users (19.4%), bullies (17.5%), and substance-using bullies (5.4%). Older and Hispanic adolescents were more likely to be substance users and substance-using bullies, whereas younger and African American adolescents were more likely to be bullies. Females were more likely to be substance users, whereas males were more likely to be bullies and substance-using bullies. Spending more evenings with peers posed greater risks for substance use, bullying, and the co-occurrence of both problem behaviors. Paternal knowledge exerted protective effects over-and-above the effects of maternal knowledge. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.
Substance use; Bullying; Parental knowledge; Peer influence; Latent class analysis
Developing a sexual self-concept is an important developmental task of adolescence; however, little empirical evidence describes this development, nor how these changes are related to development in sexual behavior. Using longitudinal cohort data from adolescent women, we invoked latent growth curve analysis to: (1) examine reciprocal development in sexual self-concept (sexual openness, sexual esteem and sexual anxiety) over a four year time frame; (2) describe the relationship of these trajectories with changes in sexual behavior. We found significant transactional effects between these dimensions and behavior: sexual self-concept evolved during adolescence in a manner consistent with less reserve, less anxiety and greater personal comfort with sexuality and sexual behavior. Moreover, we found that sexual self-concept results from sexual behavior, as well as regulates future behavior.
adolescent women; sexual self-concept; sexual behavior; latent growth curve modeling
Although there is a well-known link between adverse experiences and suicidal ideation, there has been little study of the effects of recent adverse experiences on suicidal ideation in teenagers. This study examined the association between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation in a sample of 740 at-risk 16-year-old youth in the LONGSCAN studies, as well as potential mediators. 8.9% of the youth reported suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences, as a class, were associated with suicidal ideation; both recent physical abuse and recent psychological maltreatment were uniquely associated with suicidal ideation. The links between recent adverse experiences and suicidal ideation were significantly mediated by psychological distress. There were also significant main effect associations between both internalizing behavioral problems and low positive achievement expectations and suicidal ideation. Recent adverse experiences are important in understanding suicidal ideation in high risk youth.
This study explored how contact with gay and lesbian persons affects adolescents' attitudes toward them, and whether this association is mediated or moderated by one's acceptance of gender non-conformity. We analyzed survey responses from 456 Dutch adolescents aged 12 to 15 who reported having no same-sex attractions. Data were collected in 2008 at 8 schools in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Preliminary analyses showed that contact with lesbian/gay persons outside of school was positively associated with attitudes toward lesbians and gay men. Multilevel analyses showed that acceptance of gender non-conformity mediated rather than moderated the relationship between intergroup contact and sexual prejudice in males. The effect of intergroup contact on females' attitudes toward lesbian women was no longer significant in multilevel analyses. The findings suggest that attention to both intergroup contact and acceptance of gender non-conformity would enhance our understanding of attitudes toward homosexuality in adolescents.
Intergroup contact; Homosexuality; Gender non-conformity; Adolescence; Sexual prejudice
African American (AA) adolescent girls are at heightened risk for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and thus knowledge of factors related to risky sexual behavior in this population is crucial. Using Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977), this paper examines pathways from female caregivers’ risky sexual behavior and substance use to adolescent girls’ risky sexual behavior and substance use in a sample of 214 low-income, urban AA female caregivers and daughters recruited from outpatient mental health clinics in Chicago. Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that sexual risk reported by female caregivers was associated with adolescent sexual risk, and illicit drug use reported by female caregivers was related to adolescent-reported substance use, which was in turn associated with adolescent-reported sexual risk behavior. These findings suggest that female caregivers’ sexual behavior and substance use both relate to girls’ sexual risk. Thus, results emphasize the role of female caregivers in transmitting risk.
substance use; risky sexual behavior; female caregivers; adolescent girls
Existing work has identified perceived discrimination as a risk factor that may contribute to the relatively poorer academic outcomes exhibited by Mexican-origin adolescents in the U.S. The current study examined the longitudinal associations among perceived discrimination and three indices of adolescent adjustment in the school setting (i.e., grade point average, teacher reports of externalizing, adolescents’ deviant peer associations) among 178 Mexican-origin adolescents (53% female). Ethnic identity affirmation was examined as a protective factor expected to reduce the negative effects of discrimination on adolescents’ adjustment, and gender was examined as a potential moderator of the associations of interest. Findings indicated that the deleterious effects of discrimination on adolescents’ adjustment in school were particularly salient for Mexican-origin male adolescents. Importantly, ethnic identity affirmation emerged as a protective factor for Mexican-origin male adolescents by buffering the negative effects of discrimination on their externalizing behaviors in school.
Ethnic identity; Latino; discrimination; academic adjustment
The well-documented higher rates of depression among sexual minority youth are increasingly viewed by developmentalists as a byproduct of the stigmatization of sexual minority status in American society and of the negative impact this stigma has on the processes associated with depression. This study attempted to spur future research by testing Hatzenbuehler’s (2009) psychological mediation framework to investigate the ways in which peer harassment related to sexuality puts young people at risk by influencing the cognitive, social, and regulatory factors associated with depression. Analyses of 15 year olds in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development revealed that sexual minority status was largely associated with depressive outcomes via harassment, which was subsequently associated with depression via cognitive and social factors. Results point to various avenues for exploring the importance of the social world and self-concept for the outcomes of sexual minority adolescents in the future.
sexual minority status; harassment; self-concept; depression
This study investigated whether family structure transition and low income are risk factors in the development of prosocial behavior. Models of young adults’ prosocial behavior – charitable giving and volunteering – were estimated as functions of their family structure and income during the stages of childhood. Participants were a representative sample of 1,011 American young adults. In the full sample, family structure transition during adolescence was negatively associated with subsequent charitable giving in young adulthood. Low income during adolescence was negatively associated with both giving and volunteering in young adulthood. European-American young men also exhibited a negative association between family structure transition during adolescence and subsequent volunteering. The results did not seem to describe African-American young adults. Keeping this qualification in mind, the results suggest that adolescence is a sensitive stage in the development of charitable giving and volunteering.
charitable giving; divorce; donations; poverty; volunteering
There is a strong empirical connection between individual and peer substance use during adolescence. The determination of whether this level of covariation reflects influence or selection is obscured by both the design and measurement strategies used. This present study utilizes a short-term longitudinal design with bi-monthly assessments to address the following two hypotheses: a) Adolescents select friends on the basis of their substance use, and b) New friend substance use predicts changes in future use. French Canadian adolescents (n = 143) were interviewed on their friendship networks and substance use behaviors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol and marijuana) four times during a school year. Cross-lag panel models revealed that adolescents who use substances tend to select new friends who use. Moreover, once in the network, these new friends also contribute to changes in the adolescents’ substance use. These findings are relevant to understanding the multiple functions of adolescent substance use.
Peer relations; Friendships; Substance use
Research has demonstrated that adolescent peer group affiliations are consistent predictors ofsubstance use initiation and maintenance; it is less clear how adolescent romantic relationships influence substance use behavior. Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Participants in the final dataset for the current study includedadolescents (321 males and 321 females) who were identified in reciprocated romantic relationships at Wave 1 (1994-1995; mean age 16.7 years) that were followed into young adulthood and reassessed at two different time points (Wave 2 in 1996, mean age 17.7, and Wave 3 in 2001-2002, mean age 23.1). Data were gathered from both partners, and included demographic variables, longitudinal measures of substance use (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana), and relationship seriousness. Hierarchical linear modeling using SAS PROC MIXED were utilized to test for individual versus partner influences. Results revealed individual and partner effects for the prediction of alcohol and tobacco, although individual effects were generally greater than partner influences. For marijuana use, as self-reported relationship seriousness increased, future marijuana use decreased. These findings suggest the developmental significance of adolescent romantic relationships on the prediction of future substance use behavior during young adulthood.
Adolescence; romantic relationships; development; longitudinal; substance use
Using prospective, longitudinal data from 467 youth over a 13-year period (late adolescence and young adulthood), the present study investigates three research questions: (1) to what extent do elevations in depressed mood continue (homotypic continuity) from adolescence to young adulthood, (2) to what extent do young adults’ socioeconomic attainments and failures sustain the depressed mood from adolescence to young adulthood and (3) to what extent do young adults’ socioeconomic attainments or failures mediate the continuity and discontinuity of depressive symptoms across this period? The results from our structural equation modeling (SEM) analyses suggest that continuity of depressive symptoms from late adolescence to young adulthood is mediated in part by economic and work achievements or failures of young adults after controlling for adolescent conduct disorder/antisocial behavior, parents’ psychopathology and family adversity. Additionally, the results indicate that the continuity of depressed mood across the early life course is conditioned (stabilized or disrupted) by young adult socioeconomic achievements or failures.
Youth Depressed mood; Homotypic Continuity; Socioeconomic Attainment
This study examined differences in behavioral autonomy age expectations between Mexican-origin mothers and their adolescent daughters (N = 319 dyads); variability in behavioral autonomy age expectations as a function of nativity and maternal educational attainment also was examined. Findings indicated significant differences between mothers and daughters such that mothers reported later expectations for the timing of behavioral autonomy than did daughters. Follow-up analyses indicated that findings appeared to be driven by maternal nativity, with dyads comprised of Mexico-born mothers reporting the latest age expectations for behavioral autonomy when compared with dyads comprised of U.S.-born mothers. Findings underscore the need to examine normative development among Latino adolescents and their families with a specific focus on how sociocultural characteristics can contribute to within-family differences.
Autonomy development; Latino Adolescents and Families; Sociocultural Factors
Previous research suggests that anxiously withdrawn preadolescents demonstrate success in forming friendships, yet these friendships tend to be of lesser quality. Drawing on Selman’s (1980) theory of interpersonal understanding, we compared levels of friendship understanding between anxiously withdrawn preadolescents and a sample of non-withdrawn age mates. Fifth graders (N=116; 58% girls; mean age = 10.33 yrs) completed same-sex friendship and social behavior nominations, as well as a semi-structured clinical interview assessing understanding of various friendship issues in response to a hypothetical friendship dilemma. Results suggest that anxiously withdrawn preadolescents demonstrated lower levels of friendship understanding for some, but not all, friendship issues that may be related to friendship quality. The findings suggest that social cognitive assessments of friendship may be useful in understanding the friendship successes and difficulties of anxiously withdrawn preadolescents.
Friendship; Social withdrawal; Friendship reasoning; Perspective taking; Social cognition; Preadolescents
Whereas much research addresses relations of youths’ heterosexual romantic relationships with sexual and/or delinquent activities, less attention has been paid to youths’ more normative, day-to-day activities with romantic partners. This gap in the literature is problematic given that these activities define the substance of the relationships and likely are connected to relationship satisfaction. In the current study, 223 youths in fifth (28 boys; 32 girls), eighth (31 boys; 40 girls), and eleventh (36 boys; 56 girls) grades reporting current romantic relationships indicated their engagement in activities with romantic partners and relationship satisfaction. Findings revealed important grade differences in activity involvement, with eighth- and eleventh-graders reporting higher engagement than fifth-graders, especially in out-of-school activities. Additionally, engagement in out-of-school activities was most strongly associated with relationship satisfaction for all grades.
Heterosexual romantic relationships; romantic activities; romantic relationship satisfaction
Research suggests that contextual, self-system, and school engagement variables influence dropping out from school. However, it is not clear how different types of contextual and self-system variables interact to affect students’ engagement or contribute to decisions to dropout from high school. The self-system model of motivational development represents a promising theory for understanding this complex phenomenon. The self-system model acknowledges the interactive and iterative roles of social context, self-perceptions, school engagement, and academic achievement as antecedents to the decision to dropout of school. We analyzed data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002–2004 in the context of the self-system model, finding that perception of social context (teacher support and parent support) predicts students’ self-perceptions (perception of control and identification with school), which in turn predict students’ academic and behavioral engagement, and academic achievement. Further, students’ academic and behavioral engagement and achievement in 10th grade were associated with decreased likelihood of dropping out of school in 12th grade.
Teacher support; Parent support; Behavioral engagement; Academic engagement; Dropping out of high school; Self-perceptions; Academic achievement
Little attention has been directed toward potential differential effects of the various contexts in which parents model alcohol use. The present study examined college football tailgating as a potential context in which parental modeling may be more or less risky. 290 college freshmen were assessed for perceptions of their parents’ drinking and tailgating behaviors, individual alcohol use and consequences. Hierarchical multiple regressions were performed and results revealed that parental tailgating accounted for a significant increase in the variance explained in each of the student drinking measures. Parental drunkenness at tailgates predicted college student drinking and negative consequences, over and above the influence of typical parental heavy episodic drinking. The specific context in which students perceive their parents as drinking heavily may impact their own drinking. Tailgating at sporting events appears to be one such context where students perceive alcohol behaviors which they later model.
College Students; Alcohol Use; Parental Influence
Adolescent gang members are at higher risk for internalizing problems as well as exposure to community violence and delinquency. This study examined whether gang membership in early adolescence is associated with internalizing problems (depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior) and whether these associations are mediated by delinquency and witnessing community violence. In a sample of 589 ethnically diverse early adolescents, gang membership was related to suicidal behavior but not depression or anxiety. Both delinquency and witnessing community violence mediated this association. Professionals working with gang members should assess these youth for suicidal behavior and provide interventions as needed.
Adolescents; Gangs; Delinquency; Violence Exposure; Suicidal Behavior
Because the ability to flexibly experience and appropriately express emotions across a range of developmentally relevant contexts is crucial to adaptive functioning, we examined how adolescent attachment security may be related to more functional emotional behavior during a relationship promoting interaction task. Data were collected from 74 early adolescent girls (Mean age 13.45 years; SD = 0.68; 89% Caucasian) and their primary caregiver. Results indicated that, regardless of the parent’s interaction behavior and the level of stress in the parent-adolescent relationship, greater adolescent security was associated with more positive and less negative behavioral displays, including greater positivity, greater coherence of verbal content and affect, less embarrassment, and less emotional dysregulation in response to a situational demand for establishing intimacy with the parent. Implications for encouraging and fostering adolescents’ capacity to respond to interpersonal contexts in ways that promote the relationship are discussed.
adolescence; attachment; security; intimacy; parent-adolescent interaction
We examined the direct contribution of parent and peer risk and promotive factors on youth condom use trajectories, in addition to the indirect influence of these factors via youth’s substance use over four years in a sample of urban, African American youth (N=679; 51% female; M = 14.86 years; SD=.65). Growth curve modeling was used to estimate changes in substance use and sexual risk across adolescence and test their association with parent and peer factors. Parent and peer risk factors were strongly associated with increasing substance use as youth aged. Substance use and condom use were interrelated. Parent and peer risk factors were indirectly associated with youth condom use; parent and peer promotive factors were directly associated with condom use, after accounting for substance use. Findings suggest the value of considering multiple influences on youth risk behavior.
African American youth; HIV/STI risk; parents; peers; substance use
The coping strategies used by adolescents to deal with stress may have implications for the development of depression and suicidal ideation. This study examined coping categories and specific coping behaviors used by adolescents to assess the relation of coping to depression and suicidal ideation. In hierarchical regression models, the specific coping behaviors of behavioral disengagement and self-blame were predictive of higher levels of depression; depression and using emotional support were predictive of suicidal ideation. Results suggest that specific behaviors within the broad coping categories of emotion-focused coping (e.g., self-blame) and avoidant coping (e.g., behavioral disengagement) account for these categories’ associations with depression and suicidal ideation. Specific problem-focused coping strategies did not independently predict lower levels of depression or suicidal ideation. It may be beneficial for interventions to focus on eliminating maladaptive coping behaviors in addition to introducing or enhancing positive coping behaviors.
coping; depression; suicidal ideation; stress; adolescents
We examined substance use onset and associations with pregnancy by age 15 years. Participants were girls ages 15 years or younger (weighted n = 8319) from the 1999–2003 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS). Multivariable logistic regression examined pregnancy as a function of substance use onset (i.e., age 10 years or younger, 11–12, 13–14, and age 15 years) for alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana, controlling for race/ethnicity and metropolitan location. Of girls pregnant by age 15 years (3% of the sample, weighted n = 243), 16% had smoked marijuana by age 10 years and over 20% had smoked cigarettes and initiated alcohol use by age 10 years. In the multivariable analysis, marijuana use by age 14 years and/or cigarette smoking by age 12 years clearly distinguished girls who became pregnant by age 15 years and is perhaps due to a common underlying risk factor.
Teenage pregnancy; Adolescent risk behaviors; Sexual intercourse; Substance use
This longitudinal study examined sexual intercourse within adolescent romantic relationships as a couple-level moderator of the association between adolescent individual characteristics and depressive symptoms. Two hundred nine middle- and older-adolescent dating couples (aged 14-17 and 17-21, respectively) reported on their own self-silencing, depressive symptoms, and sexual behaviors. At Time 1, frequency of sexual intercourse significantly moderated the relationship between self-silencing and depressive symptoms, such that adolescents higher in self-silencing engaging in more frequent sex were at risk for clinically significant levels of depression. Adolescents who were low in self-silencing were not at increased risk for depression, regardless of frequency of sex. Self-silencing also significantly predicted increases in depressive symptoms from Time 1 to Time 2. Implications include the possibility that frequent sex in highly self-silencing adolescents exacerbates psychological depletion believed to link self-silencing to depressive symptoms, and that this depletion compounds over time.