Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 41
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Allem, Jon-Patrick Sussman, Steve Soto, Daniel W. Baezconde-Garbanati, Lourdes and Unger, Jennifer B. 2016. Role transitions and substance use among Hispanic emerging adults: A longitudinal study using coarsened exact matching. Addictive Behaviors, Vol. 58, p. 95.

    Bauldry, Shawn Shanahan, Michael J. Macmillan, Ross Miech, Richard A. Boardman, Jason D. O. Dean, Danielle and Cole, Veronica 2016. Parental and adolescent health behaviors and pathways to adulthood. Social Science Research, Vol. 58, p. 227.

    Bricard, Damien Jusot, Florence Beck, François Khlat, Myriam and Legleye, Stéphane 2016. Educational inequalities in smoking over the life cycle: an analysis by cohort and gender. International Journal of Public Health, Vol. 61, Issue. 1, p. 101.

    Burt, Keith B. Douglas Coatsworth, J. and Masten, Ann S. 2016. Developmental Psychopathology.

    Cerdá, Magdalena Prins, Seth J. Galea, Sandro Howe, Chanelle J. and Pardini, Dustin 2016. When psychopathology matters most: identifying sensitive periods when within-person changes in conduct, affective and anxiety problems are associated with male adolescent substance use. Addiction, Vol. 111, Issue. 5, p. 924.

    Chassin, Laurie Colder, Craig R. Hussong, Andrea and Sher, Kenneth J. 2016. Developmental Psychopathology.

    Edgren, Robert Castrén, Sari Jokela, Markus and Salonen, Anne H. 2016. At-risk and problem gambling among Finnish youth: The examination of risky alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, mental health and loneliness as gender-specific correlates. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Vol. 33, Issue. 1,

    Ferrer, Emilio Conger, Rand D. and Robins, Richard W. 2016. Longitudinal Dynamics of Substance Use and Psychiatric Symptoms in Count Data with Zero Inflation. Multivariate Behavioral Research, Vol. 51, Issue. 2-3, p. 279.

    Hampson, Sarah E. Andrews, Judy A. Barckley, Maureen Gerrard, Meg and Gibbons, Frederick X. 2016. Harsh environments, life history strategies, and adjustment: A longitudinal study of Oregon youth. Personality and Individual Differences, Vol. 88, p. 120.

    Patton, George C Sawyer, Susan M Santelli, John S Ross, David A Afifi, Rima Allen, Nicholas B Arora, Monika Azzopardi, Peter Baldwin, Wendy Bonell, Christopher Kakuma, Ritsuko Kennedy, Elissa Mahon, Jaqueline McGovern, Terry Mokdad, Ali H Patel, Vikram Petroni, Suzanne Reavley, Nicola Taiwo, Kikelomo Waldfogel, Jane Wickremarathne, Dakshitha Barroso, Carmen Bhutta, Zulfiqar Fatusi, Adesegun O Mattoo, Amitabh Diers, Judith Fang, Jing Ferguson, Jane Ssewamala, Frederick and Viner, Russell M 2016. Our future: a Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing. The Lancet, Vol. 387, Issue. 10036, p. 2423.

    Rauer, Amy J. Pettit, Gregory S. Samek, Diana R. Lansford, Jennifer E. Dodge, Kenneth A. and Bates, John E. 2016. Romantic relationships and alcohol use: A long-term, developmental perspective. Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 28, Issue. 03, p. 773.

    Zhu, W. Mao, Z. Zhu, C. Li, M. Cao, C. Guan, Y. Yuan, J. Xie, G. and Guan, X. 2016. Adolescent exposure to cocaine increases anxiety-like behavior and induces morphologic and neurochemical changes in the hippocampus of adult rats. Neuroscience, Vol. 313, p. 174.

    Ziegler, Jessica A. Kuhl, Danielle C. Swisher, Raymond R. and Chavez, Jorge M. 2016. Parenthood Residency Status and Criminal Desistance across Neighborhood Contexts. Deviant Behavior, p. 1.

    Allem, Jon-Patrick Soto, Daniel Baezconde-Garbanati, Lourdes and Unger, Jennifer 2015. The Relationship Between the Accumulated Number of Role Transitions and Hard Drug Use among Hispanic Emerging Adults. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 47, Issue. 1, p. 60.

    Britton, Annie Ben-Shlomo, Yoav Benzeval, Michaela Kuh, Diana and Bell, Steven 2015. Life course trajectories of alcohol consumption in the United Kingdom using longitudinal data from nine cohort studies. BMC Medicine, Vol. 13, Issue. 1, p. 47.

    Goossens, Eva Fieuws, Steffen Van Deyk, Kristien Luyckx, Koen Gewillig, Marc Budts, Werner and Moons, Philip 2015. Effectiveness of Structured Education on Knowledge and Health Behaviors in Patients with Congenital Heart Disease. The Journal of Pediatrics, Vol. 166, Issue. 6, p. 1370.

    Hsieh, Hsing-Fang Heinze, Justin E. Aiyer, Sophie M. Stoddard, Sarah A. Wang, Jin-Liang and Zimmerman, Marc A. 2015. Cross-domain influences on youth risky driving behaviors: A developmental cascade analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 38, p. 11.

    Lee, Matthew R. Ellingson, Jarrod M. and Sher, Kenneth J. 2015. Integrating Social-Contextual and Intrapersonal Mechanisms of “Maturing Out”: Joint Influences of Familial-Role Transitions and Personality Maturation on Problem-Drinking Reductions. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 39, Issue. 9, p. 1775.

    Lee, Matthew R. Chassin, Laurie and MacKinnon, David P. 2015. Role Transitions and Young Adult Maturing Out of Heavy Drinking: Evidence for Larger Effects of Marriage Among More Severe Premarriage Problem Drinkers. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 39, Issue. 6, p. 1064.

    Madkour, Aubrey Spriggs Jackson, Kristina Wang, Heng Miles, Thomas T. Mather, Frances and Shankar, Arti 2015. Perceived Discrimination and Heavy Episodic Drinking Among African-American Youth: Differences by Age and Reason for Discrimination. Journal of Adolescent Health, Vol. 57, Issue. 5, p. 530.


Substance use changes and social role transitions: Proximal developmental effects on ongoing trajectories from late adolescence through early adulthood


Substance use changes rapidly during late adolescence and early adulthood. This time in the life course is also dense with social role changes, as role changes provide dynamic context for individual developmental change. Using nationally representative, multiwave longitudinal data from age 18 to 28, we examine proximal links between changes in social roles and changes in substance use during the transition to adulthood. We find that changes in family roles, such as marriage, divorce, and parenthood, have clear and consistent associations with changes in substance use. With some notable exceptions, changes in school and work roles have weaker effects on changes in substance use compared to family roles. Changes in socializing (i.e., nights out for fun and recreation) and in religiosity were found to mediate the relationship of social role transitions to substance use. Two time-invariant covariates, socioeconomic background and heavy adolescent substance use, predicted social role status, but did not moderate associations, as within-person links between social roles and substance use were largely equivalent across groups. This paper adds to the cascading effects literature by considering how, within individuals, more proximal variations in school, work, and family roles relate to variations in substance use, and which roles appear to be most influential in precipitating changes in substance use during the transition to adulthood.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jeremy Staff, Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 211 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802-6207; E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. G. Bachman , P. Freedman-Doan , P. M. O'Malley , L. D. Johnston , & D. R. Segal (1999). Changing patterns of drug use among US military recruits before and after enlistment. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 672677.

S. L. Brown & W. D. Manning (2009). Family boundary ambiguity and the measurement of family structure: The significance of cohabitation. Demography, 46, 85101.

M. J. Budig (2003). Are women's employment and fertility histories interdependent? An examination of causal order using event history analysis. Social Science Research, 32, 376401.

L. Bumpass , & H. Lu (2000). Trends in cohabitation and implications for children's family contexts in the United States. Population Studies, 54, 2941.

R. P. Burton , R. J. Johnson , C. Ritter , & R. C. Clayton (1996). The effects of role socialization on cocaine use: An event history analysis from adolescence into middle adulthood. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37, 7590.

J. Bynner (1998). Education and family components of identity in the transition from school to work. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 22, 2953.

A. Caspi , B. R. Wright , T. E. Moffitt , & P. Silva (1998). Childhood predictors of unemployment in early adulthood. American Sociological Review, 63, 424451.

H. D. Chilcoat , & N. Breslau (1996). Alcohol disorders in young adulthood: Effects of transitions into adulthood. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37, 339349.

D. Cicchetti , & F. A. Rogosch (2002). A developmental psychopathology perspective on adolescence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 70, 620.

C. C. Clogg , E. Petkova , & A. Haritou (1995). Statistical methods for comparing regression coefficients between models. American Journal of Sociology, 100, 12611293.

K. A. Dodge , M. T. Greenberg , & P. S. Malone (2008). Testing an idealized dynamic cascade model of the development of serious violence in adolescence. Child Development, 79, 19071927.

J. G. Duncan , B. Wilkerson , & P. England (2006). Cleaning up their act: The effects of marriage and cohabitation of licit and illicit drug use. Demography, 43, 691710.

D. B. Flora , & L. Chassin (2005). Changes in drug use during young adulthood: The effects of parent alcoholism and transition into marriage. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 19, 352362.

J. J. Gotham , K. J. Sher , & P. K. Wood (2003). Alcohol involvement and developmental task completion during young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64, 3242.

J. Hagan (1991). Destiny and drift: Subcultural preferences, status attainment, and the risks and rewards of youth. American Sociological Review, 56, 567582.

J. Hagan (1993). The social embeddedness of crime and unemployment. Criminology, 31, 465490.

C. N. Halaby (2003). Panel models for the analysis of change and growth in life course studies. In J. T. Mortimer & M. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (pp. 503528). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.

A. J. Heinz , J. Wu , K. Witkiewitz , D. H. Epstein , & K. L. Preston (2009). Marriage and relationship closeness as predictors of cocaine and heroin abuse. Addictive Behaviors, 34, 258263.

T. Hirschi , & M. Gottfredson (1983). Age and the explanation of crime. American Journal of Sociology, 89, 552584.

J. Horney , D. W. Osgood , & I. H. Marshall (1995). Criminal careers in the short-term: Intra-individual variability in crime and its relation to local life circumstances. American Sociological Review, 60, 655673.

D. B. Kandel , M. Davies , D. Karus , & K. Yamaguchi (1986). The consequences in young adulthood of adolescent drug involvement. Archives of General Psychiatry, 43, 746754.

A. C. Kerckhoff (2003). From student to worker. In J. T. Mortimer & M. J. Shanahan (Eds.), Handbook of the life course (pp. 251267). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.

M. D. Krohn , A. J. Lizotte , & C. M. Perez (1997). The interrelationship between substance abuse and precocious transitions into adult statuses. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 38, 87103.

J. L. Maggs , & J. E. Schulenberg (2005). Initiation and course of alcohol consumption among adolescents and young adults. In M. Galanter (Ed.), Recent developments in alcoholism: Vol. 17. Alcohol problems in adolescents and young adults (pp. 2947). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.

W. D. Manning , & P. J. Smock (2005). Measuring and modeling cohabitation: New perspectives from qualitative data. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 9891002.

A. S. Masten , G. I. Roisman , J. D. Long , K. B. Burt , J. Obradovic , & J. R. Riley (2005). Developmental cascades: Linking academic achievement and externalizing and internalizing symptoms over 20 years. Developmental Psychology, 41, 733746.

B. J. McMorris , & C. Uggen (2000). Alcohol and employment in the transition to adulthood. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 41, 276294.

J. T. Mortimer , M. Vuolo , J. Staff , S. Wakefield , & W. Xie (2008). Tracing the timing of “career” acquisition in a contemporary youth cohort. Work and Occupations, 35, 4484.

P. Mudar , J. N. Kearns , & K. E. Leonard (2002). The transition to marriage and changes in alcohol involvement among black couples and white couples. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 63, 568576.

D. W. Osgood , J. K. Wilson , P. M. O'Malley , J. G. Bachman , & L. D. Johnston (1996). Routine activities and individual deviant behavior. American Sociological Review, 61, 635655.

M. J. Paschall , M. Bersamin , & R. L. Flewelling (2005). Racial/ethnic differences in the association between college attendance and heavy alcohol use: A national study. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 266274.

M. Rutter (1996). Transitions and turning points in developmental psychopathology: As applied to the age span between childhood and mid-adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 19, 603626.

J. E. Schulenberg , A. L. Bryant , & P. M. O'Malley (2004). Taking hold of some kind of life: How developmental tasks relate to trajectories of well-being during the transition to adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 11191140.

J. E. Schulenberg , & J. Maslowsky (2009). Taking substance use and development seriously: Developmentally distal and proximal influences on adolescent drug use. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 74, 121130.

J. E. Schulenberg , A. C. Merline , L. D. Johnston , P. M. O'Malley , J. G. Bachman , & V. B. Laetz (2005). Trajectories of marijuana use during the transition to adulthood: The big picture based on national panel data. Journal of Drug Issues, 35, 255279.

J. E. Schulenberg , A. J. Sameroff , & D. Cicchetti (2004). The transition to adulthood as a critical juncture in the course of psychopathology and mental health [Editorial]. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 799806.

M. J. Shanahan (2000). Pathways to adulthood in changing societies: Variability and mechanisms in life course perspective. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 667692.

K. J. Sher , B. D. Bartholow , & S. Nanda (2001). Short- and long-term effects of fraternity and sorority membership on heavy drinking: A social norms perspective. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 15, 4251.

M. Thompson , & M. Petrovich (2009). Gendered transitions: Within-person changes in employment, family, and illicit-drug use. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 46, 377409.

C. Uggen (1999). Ex-offenders and the conformist alternative: A job quality model of work and crime. Social Problems, 46, 127151.

N. J. Wiles , A. Lingford-Hughes , J. Daniel , M. Hickman , M. Farrell , M. Farrell , (2007). Socio-economic status in childhood and later alcohol use: A systematic review. Addiction, 102, 15461563.

B. R. Wright , A. Caspi , T. E. Moffitt , R. A. Miech , & P. A. Silva (1999). Reconsidering the relationship between SES and delinquency: Causation but not correlation. Criminology, 37, 175194.

K. Yamaguchi , & D. B. Kandel (1985). Dynamic relationships between premarital cohabitation and illicit drug use: An event history analysis of role selection and role socialization. American Sociological Review, 50, 530546.

R. A. Zucker , J. E. Donovan , A. S. Masten , M. E. Mattson , & H. B. Moss (2008). Early developmental processes and the continuity of risk for underage drinking and problem drinking. Pediatrics, 121, S252S272.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *