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J Health Soc Behav. 2009 Mar;50(1):65-81.

Pathways to adult marijuana and cocaine use: a prospective study of African Americans from age 6 to 42.

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Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This study examines pathways to adult marijuana and cocaine use in a cohort of African Americans from Woodlawn, an inner city community in Chicago. Assessments were conducted in first grade (age 6), adolescence (age 16), early adulthood (age 32), and in mid-adulthood (age 42). The "social adaptation life course "framework guided the focus on social adaptation, social bonds, and economic resources as predictors of adult drug use. Results indicate that more frequent substance use in adolescence and lower-income and less-frequent church attendance in early adulthood increase the risk of mid-life drug use. Shyness in first grade related inversely to later cocaine use and marijuana use (marginally significant). Indirect pathways to drug use also were identified. Gender differences were not significant. The findings show continuities in social maladaptation over time and the importance of social integration and economic resources in the early adult years.

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