Marijuana use patterns among African-American middle-school students: A longitudinal latent class regression analysis

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Abstract

The aim of this paper was to describe patterns of marijuana involvement during the middle-school years from the first chance to try marijuana down through the early stages of experiencing health and social problems from marijuana use in a sample of African-American adolescents. A total of 488 urban-dwelling African-American middle-school students were interviewed in sixth, seventh and eighth grades as part of a longitudinal field study. Longitudinal latent class models were used to identify subgroups (classes) of adolescents with similar patterns of marijuana involvement. Three classes were identified; little or no involvement (prevalence 85%, 71%, 55% in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, respectively), marijuana exposure opportunity (12%, 19% and 26%), and marijuana use and problems (2%, 9% and 19%). High levels of aggressive/disruptive behavior exhibited as early as first grade and moderate to high levels of deviant peer affiliation were associated with an increased risk of marijuana exposure opportunities in middle-school. Moderate to high levels of aggressive/disruptive behavior and deviant peer affiliation, moderate to low levels of parent monitoring and high levels of perceived neighborhood disadvantage were associated with an increased risk of marijuana use and problems. Significant interactions with grade provided evidence that the influences of parent monitoring and neighborhood disadvantage decrease through the middle-school years. Although not statistically significant, the magnitude of the effects of deviant peer affiliation on marijuana use and problems increased two-fold from sixth to eighth grade. These findings highlight the importance of marijuana exposure opportunities in the pathway to marijuana use and problems and the potential to intervene on behaviors exhibited as early as first grade. It also underscores the importance of developing interventions that are sensitive to the strong influence of parents at entry into middle-school and the shift to peer influences by the end of middle-school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-24
Number of pages13
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 6 2007

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • African-American
  • Aggressive/disruptive behavior
  • Deviant peer affiliation
  • Epidemiology
  • Latent class analysis
  • Marijuana
  • Neighborhood
  • Parent monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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