Elucidating the associations between early timing pubertal status and alcohol and cigarette use
Zehe, Jennifer M.
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This study investigated peer influences and adolescents’ social goals as mechanisms by which early pubertal timing operates on adolescents’ alcohol and cigarette use. Our study used four waves of data (each wave approximately one year apart) from a longitudinal study investigating adolescent substance use. The community sample (N=387) was aged 11-13 at the first wave of assessment. One hypothesized path was supported: Early maturing girls were more likely to experience peer victimization, and in turn, affiliate with a delinquent peer group, which led to the onset of alcohol use. Reciprocal influences between affiliation with delinquent peers and alcohol and cigarette use were found. We also found that girls who drink alcohol are less likely to endorse communal goals, while boys who drink alcohol are more likely to endorse communal goals. Finally, we found that boys who mature early and girls who experience peer victimization are less likely to endorse communal social goals.