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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

5 - Toward a Dynamic Developmental Model of the Role of Parents and Peers in Early Onset Substance Use


Although most theories of deviant behavioral development explicitly acknowledge the roles of both parenting and peer relations, few theories, and even fewer empirical analyses, have articulated the manner in which these factors relate to each other and operate dynamically across childhood. The chapter by Collins and Roisman (Chapter 4 in this book) provides an excellent general overview of how these factors operate in adolescence. This chapter identifies aspects of parenting and peer relations across the life span that may play a role in the onset of illicit drug use in adolescence and the manner in which these factors may influence each other and operate in concert across development.

The enormous social, psychological, and economic costs of substance use among adolescents in the United States over the past four decades (Kendall & Kessler, 2002; Kessler et al., 2001) have led to unprecedented attempts at interdiction, prosecution, and treatment, mostly without much success. Epidemiologic studies have directed attention toward prevention. This research has taken largely a risk-factor approach following from the methods of Rutter (Rutter & Garmezy, 1983), in which individual-difference variables in childhood are statistically linked to later substance use. Empirical research has identified several dozen factors in childhood that enhance risk for substance use during adolescence (reviewed by Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992; Weinberg, Rahdert, Colliver, & Glantz, 1998), but a laundry list of risk factors has not yet led to efficacious prevention programs.

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