Ethnic and gender differences in risk for early adolescent substance use

Daniel J. Flannery, Alexander T. Vazsonyi, Julia Torquati, Angela Fridrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

143 Scopus citations


This study examined interpersonal and intrapersonal risk for substance use in a sample of Caucasian and Hispanic early adolescents. A total of 1170 sixth and seventh graders, equally divided by gender, participated. Interpersonal risk was assessed by susceptibility to peer pressure, parental monitoring, peer substance use, parent-child involvement, and school adjustment. Intrapersonal risk was measured via self-efficacy, impulsivity, aggression, depression, and academic achievement. As expected, mean level of use did not differ between ethnic groups. Regression analyses indicated susceptibility to peer pressure and peer alcohol use were the best predictors of individual substance use. These findings were consistent across gender and ethnicity. In all groups, interpersonal variables accounted for more variance in predicting risk (49% for Hispanic males) than intrapersonal variables (0% for Hispanic females). Findings are discussed (1) in terms of examining mean levels vs. the underlying pattern predicting substance use, and (2) regarding implications for prevention efforts in early adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-213
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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