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J Adolesc Health. 2002 Sep;31(3):286-98.

Correlates of marijuana use in Colombian adolescents: a focus on the impact of the ecological/cultural domain.

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  • 1Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10020, USA.


To examine the influence of ecological/cultural factors and family, personality, and peer factors present during early adolescence that influence marijuana use in late adolescence. A community sample of 2,226 Colombian adolescents living in mixed urban-rural communities and their mothers were interviewed in their homes by trained Colombian interviewers, first in 1995-1996 and then again 2 years later. The scales used were based on item intercorrelations and grouped into the following categories: (a) adolescent personality, (b) family traits, (c) peer factors, (d) ecological/cultural variables, and (e) marijuana use. Data were examined using hierarchical regression modeling to determine the relationship between each of the domains and late adolescent marijuana use. The findings supported the family interactional theory of adolescent drug use behavior and found that factors in all of the domains had a direct effect on late adolescent marijuana use as well as indirect effects mediated through the more proximal domains in the model. Of particular interest was the strength of the influence of the ecological/cultural factors, which far exceeded that observed in similar studies done in the United States. Owing to the similarity with findings from studies conducted in the United States, interventions designed domestically could effectively be directly applied to adolescents in Colombia. The findings also suggest that prevention programs designed specifically to target ecological or cultural factors may have the most profound influence for reducing marijuana use in late adolescence.

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