Examining a Causal Model of Early Drug Involvement among Inner-City Junior High School Youths

Richard Dembo, Dana Farrow, Don C. Des Jarlais, William Burgos, James Schmeidler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reflecting the need to construct more inclusive, socially and culturally relevant conceptions of drug use than currently exist, this paper investigates the determinants of drug involvement among inner-city youths within the context of a causal model. The drug involvement of the Black and Puerto Rican junior high school girls and boys studied is hypothesized to result from their home composition, felt relationships with parents, attitudes toward school, machismo values, and identification with drug involved peers. The results show few socialization into drug-use differences to exist between the Puerto Rican and Black youths surveyed. However, the girls' drug use is somewhat better explained by the intrapersonal and interpersonal socialization variables in the model than that of the boys. At the same time, the socialization variables examined have limited predictive power in regard to the drug involvement of the four groups (R2s from.177 to.220). Peer-oriented attitudes and behavior that more closely reflect the environmental embeddedness of the youths' drug-taking would probably provide a more fruitful set of socialization into drug use factors, than those represented in the model we tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-193
Number of pages25
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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