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Substance Use among Adults 35 Years of Age: Prevalence, Adulthood Predictors, and Impact of Adolescent Substance Use


  • Merline, A.C.
  • O'Malley, P.M.
  • Schulenberg, J.E.
  • Bachman, J.G.
  • Johnston, L.D.


Objectives. We examined the prevalence of substance use among American adults aged 35 years, and we considered adulthood predictors and the impact of adolescent substance use. Methods. National panel data were drawn from the Monitoring the Future study. Logistic regressions were conducted to assess the impact of demographics, life experiences, and adolescent substance use on smoking, heavy drinking, prescription drug misuse, marijuana use, and cocaine use at 35 years of age. Results. Factors related to increased likelihood of substance use include high school use, unemployment, and noncustodial parenthood. Lower use was associated with being female, a college graduate, a professional, married, or a custodial parent. Conclusions. Among those aged 35 years, substance use was still rather prevalent and was a function of adulthood roles, experiences, and previous use.

Suggested Citation

  • Merline, A.C. & O'Malley, P.M. & Schulenberg, J.E. & Bachman, J.G. & Johnston, L.D., 2004. "Substance Use among Adults 35 Years of Age: Prevalence, Adulthood Predictors, and Impact of Adolescent Substance Use," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 94(1), pages 96-102.
  • Handle: RePEc:aph:ajpbhl:2004:94:1:96-102_7

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    Cited by:

    1. Lee, Jungeun Olivia & Hill, Karl G. & Hartigan, Lacey A. & Boden, Joseph M. & Guttmannova, Katarina & Kosterman, Rick & Bailey, Jennifer A. & Catalano, Richard F., 2015. "Unemployment and substance use problems among young adults: Does childhood low socioeconomic status exacerbate the effect?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 36-44.
    2. Daniel Demant & Oscar Oviedo-Trespalacios & Julie-Anne Carroll & Jason A. Ferris & Larissa Maier & Monica J. Barratt & Adam R. Winstock, 2018. "Do people with intersecting identities report more high-risk alcohol use and lifetime substance use?," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 63(5), pages 621-630, June.
    3. Mossakowski, Krysia N., 2008. "Is the duration of poverty and unemployment a risk factor for heavy drinking?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 947-955, September.
    4. Arteaga, Irma & Chen, Chin-Chih & Reynolds, Arthur J., 2010. "Childhood predictors of adult substance abuse," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1108-1120, August.
    5. Duncan McVicar, 2012. "Cross Country Estimates of Peer Effects in Adolescent Smoking Using IV and School Fixed Effects," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n07, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    6. McVicar, Duncan, 2011. "Estimates of peer effects in adolescent smoking across twenty six European Countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1186-1193.
    7. Evans-Polce, Rebecca J. & Jang, Bohyun Joy & Maggs, Jennifer L. & Patrick, Megan E., 2020. "Gender and age differences in the associations between family social roles and excessive alcohol use," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 244(C).
    8. Salazar, Amy M. & Roe, Stephanie S. & Ullrich, Jessica S. & Haggerty, Kevin P., 2016. "Professional and youth perspectives on higher education-focused interventions for youth transitioning from foster care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 23-34.
    9. Latif, Ehsan, 2014. "The impact of recession on drinking and smoking behaviours in Canada," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 43-56.
    10. de Visser, Richard O. & Smith, Jonathan A., 2007. "Young men's ambivalence toward alcohol," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 350-362, January.
    11. Daniel Eisenberg & Brian Rowe, 2008. "The Effects of Smoking in Young Adulthood on Smoking and Health Later in Life: Evidence Based on the Vietnam Era Draft Lottery," Working Papers 08-35, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Carroll Chapman, Shawna L. & Wu, Li-Tzy, 2013. "Substance use among adolescent mothers: A review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 806-815.
    13. Paradis, Catherine, 2011. "Parenthood, drinking locations and heavy drinking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 72(8), pages 1258-1265, April.
    14. Erica Ann Felker-Kantor & Colette Cunningham-Myrie & Lisa-Gaye Greene & Parris Lyew-Ayee & Uki Atkinson & Wendel Abel & Pernell Clarke & Simon G Anderson & Katherine P Theall, 2019. "Neighborhood crime, disorder and substance use in the Caribbean context: Jamaica National Drug Use Prevalence Survey 2016," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(11), pages 1-15, November.

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