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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2015 Jan-Mar;47(1):60-4. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2014.1001099.

The Relationship Between the Accumulated Number of Role Transitions and Hard Drug Use among Hispanic Emerging Adults.

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a Doctoral Candidate, Keck School of Medicine of USC , Los Angeles , CA.


Emerging adults (ages 18 to 25) who experience multiple role transitions in a short period of time may engage in hard drug use as a maladaptive coping strategy to avoid negative emotions from stress. Given the collectivistic values Hispanics encounter growing up, they may experience additional role transitions due to their group-oriented cultural paradigm. This study examined whether those who experience many role transitions are at greater risk for hard drug use compared to those who experience few transitions among Hispanic emerging adults. Participants completed surveys indicating their hard drug use in emerging adulthood, role transitions in the past year of emerging adulthood, age, gender, and hard drug use in high school. Simulation analyses indicated that an increase in the number of role transitions, from 0 to 13, was associated with a 14% (95% CI, 4 to 29) higher probability of hard drug use. Specific role transitions were found to be associated with hard drug use, such as starting to date or experiencing a breakup. Intervention/prevention programs may benefit from acknowledging individual reactions to transitions in emerging adulthood, as these processes may be catalysts for personal growth where identities are consolidated and decisions regarding hard drug use are formed.


Hispanic; drug use; emerging adults; prevention; risk factors; role transitions; vulnerable populations

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