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Subst Use Misuse. 1998 Nov;33(13):2561-604.

Illicit substance use among adolescents: a matrix of prospective predictors.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Alaska Anchorage, 99508, USA.


This paper reviews findings from 58 prospective studies of illicit substance use (ISU) among adolescents. It arranges 384 findings according to three types of influence (viz., social, attitudinal, and intrapersonal) and four levels of influence (viz., ultimate, distal, proximal, and immediate). The bulk of evidence reconfirms the importance of several predictors of ISU (e.g., intentions and prior substance-related behavior, friendship patterns and peer behaviors, absence of supportive parents, psychological temperament), reveals that a few variables thought to be well-established predictors may not be (e.g., parental behaviors, parental permissiveness, depression, low self-esteem), and uncovers several variables where findings were either sparse or inconsistent (e.g., the role of public policies concerning ISU, mass media depictions of ISU, certain parenting styles, affective states, perceptions of parental disapproval for ISU, and substance-specific refusal skills). Directions for future research are discussed.

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