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Time-varying effects of families and peers on adolescent marijuana use: Person–environment interactions across development

  • Marina Epstein (a1), Karl G. Hill (a1), Stephanie S. Roe (a1), Jennifer A. Bailey (a1), William G. Iacono (a2), Matt McGue (a2), Allison Kristman-Valente (a1), Richard F. Catalano (a1) and Kevin P. Haggerty (a1)...

Studies have demonstrated that the effects of two well-known predictors of adolescent substance use, family monitoring and antisocial peers, are not static but change over the course of adolescence. Moreover, these effects may differ for different groups of youth. The current study uses time-varying effect modeling to examine the changes in the association between family monitoring and antisocial peers and marijuana use from ages 11 to 19, and to compare these associations by gender and levels of behavioral disinhibition. Data are drawn from the Raising Healthy Children study, a longitudinal panel of 1,040 youth. The strength of association between family monitoring and antisocial peers and marijuana use was mostly steady over adolescence, and was greater for girls than for boys. Differences in the strength of the association were also evident by levels of behavioral disinhibition: youth with lower levels of disinhibition were more susceptible to the influence of parents and peers. Stronger influence of family monitoring on girls and less disinhibited youth was most evident in middle adolescence, whereas the stronger effect of antisocial peers was significant during middle and late adolescence. Implications for the timing and targeting of marijuana preventive interventions are discussed.

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Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Marina Epstein, Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, 9725 3rd Avenue NE, Suite 401, Seattle, WA 98115; E-mail:
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Funding for this study was provided by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA024411 and R01DA08093). The authors gratefully acknowledge the Raising Healthy Children study participants for their continued contribution to the longitudinal study. They also acknowledge the Social Development Research Group Survey Research Division for their hard work maintaining high panel retention and the Social Development Research Group editorial and administrative staff for their editorial and project support. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agency. Richard F. Catalano is a board member of Channing Bete Company, distributor of Supporting School Success® and Guiding Good Choices®. Although the intervention effects are not studied in this paper, these programs were tested in the studies that produced the data sets used in this paper. An earlier version of this paper was presented in May 2015 at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research held in Washington, DC.

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