Ecological correlates of substance use in African American adolescents living in public housing communities: Assessing the moderating effects of social cohesion
Adolescence is a stage of development when young people explore the larger social world. Accordingly, exposure to violence and other risk factors increase during adolescence. Exposure to community and domestic violence in addition to other contextual and individual correlates have been found associated with substance use. Using a sample of 663 African American adolescents living in urban public housing, this study assesses how multiple risk factors, including for example violence and peers' behavior, are related to adolescents' alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use. This paper also assesses how, or whether, these relationships are moderated by social cohesion. The model explained 28% of the variance in substance use. Mental health symptoms in addition to violence were significantly associated with substance use. These effects, however, were dependent upon levels of social cohesion. Implications to practice are discussed.
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