Risk Factors for Adolescent Marijuana Use Across Cultures and Across Time
An integrated analysis of the data from 3 different studies was conducted to examine the early psychosocial predictors of later marijuana use among adolescents. Longitudinal analysis of interview data was performed. The data used in the analysis were derived from (a) a sample of 739 predominantly White adolescents representative of the northeastern United States, (b) a sample of 1,190 minority adolescents from the East Harlem section of New York City, and (c) a sample of 1,374 Colombian adolescents from two cities in Colombia, South America. In 2 of the samples, participants were interviewed in their homes, and in the 3rd study, participants were assessed in school. The predictors included a number of variables from (a) the personality domain, reflecting the adolescents' conventionality and intrapsychic functioning; (b) the family domain, representing the parent-child mutual attachment relationship and parental substance use; (c) the peer domain, reflecting the peer group's delinquency and substance use; and (d) the adolescents' own use of legal drugs. The dependent variable was adolescent marijuana use. The results of the analysis demonstrated remarkable consistency in the risk and protective factors for later marijuana use across the 3 samples, attesting to the robust nature of these predictors and their generalizability across gender, time, location, and ethnic/cultural background. These findings have important implications for designing intervention programs. Programs aimed at preventing adolescent marijuana use can be designed to incorporate universal features and still incorporate specific components that address the unique needs of adolescents from different groups.
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