ERIC Number: ED313638
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Aug
The Ecology of Substance Use: Family Characteristics of High-Risk Teens.
Harkins, Christine M.; And Others
The most recent prescriptions for substance abuse prevention call for parent involvement in all phases of school and community programs, in addition to parent education programs. However, surprisingly little is known about the ways in which family variables influence patterns of adolescent substance use. This study examined a sample of families with an adolescent at high risk of substance use to determine the correlates and ecological precursors of substance abuse. Data were collected from parents (N=154) of middle and high school students identified as being at high risk for substance use. The results showed that families of high risk youth differed significantly from samples of "normal" or non-high risk families, and on some dimensions appeared to be quite similar to clinically distressed samples despite the absence of psychopathology and delinquency. Of particular interest was the fact that the high risk sample reported a higher incidence of exit life events, suggesting that preventive intervention relevant to life transitions and death of a friend or family member may be useful in reducing the impact of these events on family functioning. The findings offer support to systems notions of substance use, with low family cohesion, high conflict and dissatisfaction with family functioning in conjunction with parental perceptions of helplessness creating a climate with few barriers to adolescent substance use. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Drug Abuse (DHHS/PHS), Rockville, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (97th, New Orleans, LA, August 11-15, 1989).