ERIC Number: ED456980
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-May
The Social Context of Substance Abuse: A Developmental Perspective.
Conger, Rand D.
Research findings on the early precursors of substance use and related adjustment difficulties have led to interest in developmental models to explain problem behavior. This paper examines five major themes that characterize the relationship among social context, individual disposition, and syndromes of problem behaviors that include substance use and abuse. These themes are: the developmental nature of antisocial behavior; its link to oppositional or aversive acts in early childhood; its foundation in family relationships; its role in bidirectional influences within the family; and its reciprocal ties to family members' behaviors and the responses of other social contexts (such as peers, school, and community) of the developing child or adolescent. A developmental model of proximal social-contextual influences on substance abuse and behavior problems is proposed that encompasses the five themes. The model itself generalizes across rural-urban contexts but its parameters often vary as a function of rural/urban setting. The proposed developmental sequence begins in the family, where childhood oppositional behavior and exposure to family misuse of substances dramatically increase risk for later adolescent delinquency and substance use. Family substance use, inept parenting, and hostile family interactions lead to serious social skill deficits in the child, which in turn result in rejection by conventional peers. Socially rejected youth form a deviant peer group, providing a training ground for experimenting with substances and delinquency. Ultimately, the developmental sequence influences rates of delinquent behavior and substance abuse at the school and neighborhood levels. (Contains 64 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Adolescent Development, Behavior Problems, Child Development, Child Rearing, Context Effect, Delinquency, Early Experience, Family Environment, Models, Parent Child Relationship, Peer Relationship, Risk, Social Environment, Substance Abuse
For full text: http://www.nida.nih.gov/PDF/Monographs/Monograph168/Download168.html.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Rural Substance Abuse: State of Knowledge and Issues. NIDA Research Monograph 168; see RC 023 179.