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J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1996 Dec;35(12):1584-92.

Young adult drug use and delinquency: childhood antecedents and adolescent mediators.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.



The aims of this study were (1) to examine the childhood, early adolescent, and late adolescent predictors of young adult drug use and delinquency; and (2) to explore the effects of drug use on delinquent behavior.


Data were gathered during the course of a 20-year longitudinal study of children representative of the Northeast. Data were gathered on childhood aggression, early and late adolescent drug use and delinquency, and young adult drug use and delinquency.


Overall, the results were consistent with our proposed model. Childhood aggression had an adverse effect on young adult drug use and female deviant behavior. Drug use and delinquency during early and late adolescence served as the mediator between childhood aggression and young adult drug use. Moreover, adolescent drug use was associated with later delinquency.


The findings indicated that childhood aggression was related to both young adult drug use and delinquency. Second, there was stability of drug use and delinquency between early adolescence and young adulthood. Third, drug use during early adolescence had an impact on delinquency not only in early adolescence, but also in late adolescence and young adulthood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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