The Effect of Social Skills, Values, Peers, and Depression on Adolescent Substance Use

Ronald L. Simons, Les B. Whitbeck, Rand D. Conger, Janet N. Melby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The present study tested a social learning model designed to specify the nature of the associations between various constructs shown in previous research to be related to adolescent substance use. The model was tested using a sample of 61 families, each of which included a seventh grader. The results largely supported the hypothesized model. Aggressiveness, low commitment to prosocial values, and problems at school were associated with involvement in a deviant peer group. Low commitment to prosocial values and involvement with deviant peers were related to feelings of depression. Finally, involvement with deviant peers and feelings of depression interacted to increase the probability of substance use, Suggesting that depressed adolescents may use substances as a form of self-medication when such behavior is supported by their peer group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-481
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Early Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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