Su, Jinni & Supple, Andrew J.
School Substance Use Norms and Racial Composition Moderate Parental and Peer Influences on Adolescent Substance Use
Virginia Commonwealth University
Examine the effects of school substance use norms and school racial composition in predicting adolescent substance use and in moderating parental and peer influences on adolescent substance use.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
American Journal Community Psychology
Vol. 57, Pp. 280-290
Results indicated that school-level disapproval against substance use and percentage of minority students at school were negatively associated with adolescent substance use.
School-level disapproval moderated the association between peer substance use and adolescent substance use, with the association being stronger when school-level disapproval was lower.
School racial composition moderated the influence of parental disapproval and peer substance use on adolescent substance use.
Specifically, both the association between parental disapproval and adolescent substance use and the association between peer substance use and adolescent substance use were weaker for adolescents who attended schools with higher percentages of minority students.
Parental disapproval was significantly and negatively associated with adolescent substance use when percentage of minority in school was low, but was not significantly associated with adolescent substance use when percentage of minority in school was high.
The association between peer substance use and adolescent substance use was slightly weaker for schools with higher percentages of minority students than for schools with lower percentages of minority students.
Findings highlighted the importance of considering the role of school contexts, in conjunction with parental and peer influences, in understanding adolescent substance use.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Behavior, Parents, Peer Effects, Racial Composition
Secondary Survey Data
Method of Analysis:
Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM)
7th to 12th graders in Dane County Wisconsin
Unit of Analysis:
-Data for this study were drawn from the 2009 Dane County (Wisconsin) Youth Assessment, a county-wide survey of students in grades 7 through 12.
-A total of 17,366 students participated in the survey.
-For this study, only students aged 12–17 were included and students who self-identified as Native American or mixed race were dropped due to low overall sample sizes in these groups, resulting in a sample of 14,346 students from 34 schools or school districts.
-Of the 14,346 students, 9.8% had missing data in at least one of the study variables who were automatically excluded from analyses in hierarchical linear modeling (HLM).
-Thus, the final analytic sample for this study included 12,933 students
- During the fall 2008, students completed surveys electronically in school. Parents were informed of the survey in advance and could withdraw consent for their child to participate while adolescents could also refuse participation.
-DV: Adolescent substance abuse. Adolescents reported on five items regarding their frequency of smoking cigarette, snuffing or chewing tobacco, drinking beer or wine, drinking hard liquor, and using marijuana over the past 12 months. Response options to these items ranged from 1 (not at all) to 6 (daily). Scores were averaged to create a summary variable of adolescent substance use.
Individual level independent variables;
Parental Substance Use- Adolescents reported on two items regarding their parents’ substance use behavior: (a) my parent gets drunk at least once a week and (b) my parent uses illegal drugs at least once a week. Reponses options ranged from 0 (strongly agree) to 3 (strongly disagree).
Adolescent Disapproval of Substance Use- Students responded to four items regarding their attitudes toward substance use by teenagers Response options ranged from 0 (strongly approve) to 4 (strongly disapprove).
Parental Involvement - A six-item scale was used to assess adolescents’ perceptions that their parents monitored their free-time behaviors and were supportive and caring. Students responded to each item based on a scale ranging from 0 (strongly agree) to 3 (strongly dis- agree).
Parental Disapproval of Substance Use- Three items were used to measure adolescents’ perceptions of their parents’ attitude toward adolescent substance use. Response options ranged from 0 (not wrong) to 3 (very wrong).
Peer Substance Use- Adolescents reported on two items regarding peer substance use: (a) most of my friends do not drink or do drugs and (b) most of my friends do not smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco. Reponses options ranged from 0 (strongly agree) to 3 (strongly disagree).
- School level Independent variables
School Type- classified into three types: middle school, high school, and mixed middle and high school. To control for school type, dummy variables were created with middle school as the reference category.
School Substance Use Norms (School-Level Disapproval of Substance Use)- a compositional variable created by averaging individual scores of adolescent disapproval across all student participants from the same school.
School racial composition was operationalized as percentage of minority students within each school.