Middle childhood antecedents to progressions in male adolescent substance use: An ecological analysis of risk and protection

Thomas J. Dishion, Deborah M. Capaldi, Karen Yoerger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

160 Scopus citations


Initiation of substance use before the age of 15 to 16 is a distinct risk factor for a variety of mental health problems and eventual drug abuse. Using multimethod, multi-agent measures of child, family, and peer antecedents at age 9 to 10, we studied the longitudinal effects in an at-risk sample of 206 boys. Even history analysis was used to examine the antecedents to patterned alcohol and tobacco use as well as experimentation with marijuana between ages 11 and 16. Univariate models revealed that at Grade 4, most constructs were prognostic of boys' early substance use. Multivariate event history models clarified the risk and protective structure associated with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. The level of intercorrelation among the predictor variables, however, suggested that family, peer, and child characteristics were inextricably connected within an ecology of development. A structural equation prediction model suggested a higher order contruct, "childhood risk structure.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-205
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this