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Am J Community Psychol. 2006 Dec;38(3-4):237-49.

The effects of cumulative risks and promotive factors on urban adolescent alcohol and other drug use: a longitudinal study of resiliency.

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  • 1Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Warsaw, Poland.


Resiliency theory provides a conceptual framework for studying why some youth exposed to risk factors do not develop the negative behaviors they predict. The purpose of this study was to test compensatory and protective models of resiliency in a longitudinal sample of urban adolescents (80% African American). The data were from Years 1 (9th grade) and 4 (12th grade). The study examined effects of cumulative risk and promotive factors on adolescent polydrug use including alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Cumulative measures of risk/promotive factors represented individual characteristics, peer influence, and parental/familial influences. After controlling for demographics, results of multiple regression of polydrug use support the compensatory model of resiliency both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Promotive factors were also found to have compensatory effects on change in adolescent polydrug use. The protective model of resiliency evidenced cross-sectionally was not supported in longitudinal analysis. The findings support resiliency theory and the use of cumulative risk/promotive measures in resiliency research. Implications focused on utilizing multiple assets and resources in prevention programming are discussed.

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