Contextual factors in substance use: How neighborhoods, parents and peers impact substance use in an early adolescent sample
Trucco, Elisa M.
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Identifying factors associated with substance use in early adolescence may help inform the development and refinement of prevention programs. To this end, researchers highlight the importance of theoretical ecological models to identify risk factors across contexts and moderators and mediators of risk for substance use, yet these comprehensive models are rarely tested. This study investigates the influence of neighborhood, family, and peer contexts on alcohol and cigarette use in early adolescence ( N = 387) using a longitudinal design and cross-lagged moderated mediation path models. The results indicate that neighborhood poverty is indirectly related to adolescent delinquency and low levels of positive parenting through its associations with peer delinquency but only in the alcohol model tested. In turn, adolescent delinquency predicted subsequent alcohol use. Results also offer some support for the role of effortful control as a moderator in the association between neighborhood cohesion and parenting and peer delinquency and parenting. Overall, the study supported hypothesized relationships between key microsystems thought to influence adolescent substance use, and thus findings underscore the utility of ecological models of substance use.