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Addict Behav. 2013 Dec;38(12):2797-800. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.001. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Emerging adulthood themes, role transitions and substance use among Hispanics in Southern California.

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University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, 2001 N. Soto Street, 3rd Floor Mail, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA. Electronic address:



Hispanic emerging adults appear to be at especially high risk for substance use but little is known about their risk and protective factors. A crucial next step to reducing substance use among this priority population may involve understanding how transition-to-adulthood themes are associated with substance use. Intervention and prevention programs could also benefit from information about which if any specific transitions undergone in emerging adulthood are associated with substance use.


Hispanic emerging adults (aged 18 to 24) completed surveys indicating their identification with transition-to-adulthood themes, role transitions in the past year, and use of alcohol and marijuana. Logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between transition-to-adulthood themes and past-month binge drinking and marijuana use, controlling for age and gender. Separate logistic regression models explored the association between each individual role transition and past-month binge drinking and marijuana use, controlling for age and gender and using a Bonferonni correction.


Among the participants (n=1,390), 41% were male, the average age was 21, 24% reported past-month marijuana use and 34% reported past-month binge drinking. Participants who felt emerging adulthood was a time of focusing on others were less likely to report marijuana use and binge drinking. Among the 24 transitions, five were significantly associated with past-month marijuana use and 10 were significantly associated with past-month binge drinking.


Findings suggest transition-to-adulthood themes as well as specific changes experienced by emerging adults are meaningful for Hispanics and should be explored in prevention and intervention programs in the future. Future research should determine what specific mechanisms are making these transitional processes risk factors for substance use.


Binge drinking; Emerging adults; Hispanics; Marijuana; Substance use

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