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African-American and Puerto Rican drug use: a longitudinal study.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.



To examine the interrelationship of acculturation, family, personality, ecology, and peer domains measured in adolescence as they impact drug use 5 years later and to assess the role of family variables as buffers against personality risks.


Youths completed questionnaires in classrooms at T1 and were individually interviewed at T2 (mean age = 20 years). Data were analyzed separately for African-Americans and Puerto Ricans using correlations, hierarchical multiple regressions, and two-way interactions.


Most results were similar for both ethnic groups. Eighty percent of the T1 variables significantly related to T2 stage of drug use. A mediational model of the path to drug use was supported. Acculturative influences were associated with family relations, which in turn were related to personality attributes. A reciprocal relationship emerged between the personality and peer domains in their impact on drug use. Family variables primarily enhanced the effect of protective personality traits on drug use.


Stability of drug use alone cannot explain the relationship between the earlier domains and later drug use. Specific adolescent risks have long-lasting effects. The personality domain has a direct effect on later drug use despite a benign picture in the acculturation, family, and peer domains.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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