This article examines the intertwined roles of gender labels (male/female) and gender identity in predicting drug-use behaviors and experiences of middle school students in a large, ethnically diverse, southwestern city. Three dimensions of gender identity are derived through factor analysis, one relating to femininity and nurturance, another relating to masculinity and self-confidence, and a third relating to masculinity and dominance. In bivariate and mutivariate tests the authors find that masculine dominance is associated with higher frequency of recent drug use, particularly for boys' use of marijuana and hard drugs, with more drug offers and a greater variety of drugs used over their lifetimes. Gender identity measures do not supersede gender labels in predicting drug outcomes, but they are shown to be more powerful predictors in combination than separately. Possible relationships between gender identity and early adolescents' relationships with their ethnic groups, families, peers, groups of reference, and school environments are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences(all)