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Addiction. 2006 Jan;101(1):109-20.

Family structure and substance use problems in adolescence and early adulthood: examining explanations for the relationship.

Author information

  • 1Dpartment of Sociology, Florida State University, USA. abarrett@fsu.edu

Abstract

AIMS:

Our study has two goals: to evaluate variation in symptoms of substance abuse/dependence by family structure and to examine several potential explanations for this association, including differences in socio-economic status, social support, social stress and perceived approval and use of substances by family and friends.

DESIGN:

Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression is used to examine the association between family type and problematic substance use and to assess the hypothesized mediators.

SETTING:

Data were collected between 1998 and 2000 as part of a study of the prevalence and social distributions of psychiatric and substance use disorders. The study involved face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of young adults in a South Florida community.

PARTICIPANTS:

Respondents (n = 1760) were between 18 and 23 years of age. Approximately 25% were of Cuban origin, 25% other Caribbean basin Hispanic, 25% African American and 25% non-Hispanic white.

MEASUREMENTS:

Four family types are examined: mother-father families, single-parent families, single-parent families that include other adult relative(s) and stepfamilies. Problematic substance use is measured by a set of 22 substance abuse/dependence symptoms.

FINDINGS:

Controlling for race-ethnicity and gender, respondents from single-parent families report a significantly higher level of problematic substance use than those from mother-father families. Although nearly all explanations receive support, we find the strongest evidence for differential association with deviant peers and exposure to stress.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings suggest that--rather than representing a unique and independent predictor of substance use problems--family structure can be viewed as a marker of the unequal distribution of factors influencing the risk of problematic substance use.

PMID:
16393197
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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