Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 73-88

First online:

Peer vs. parental influence in substance use among hispanic and Anglo children and adolescents

  • Robert H. CoombsAffiliated withUCLA School of MedicineOffice of Education, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and HospitalWashington State University
  • , Morris J. PaulsonAffiliated withUCLA School of MedicineUniversity of Kansas
  • , Mark A. RichardsonAffiliated withUniversity of CaliforniaUCLA

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The relative influence of peer and parental influence on youths' use of alcohol and other drugs is explored among 446 Anglo and Hispanic youths, ages 9–17. Current users and abstainers are similar in age and gender. Among both groups, parental influence is more profound than that of peers. However, substance users, compared to abstainers, are more influenced by peers. Level of marijuana use by youths' friends is the most reliable predictor of drug use. Youths having viable relationships with parents are less involved with drugs and less influenced by drug-oriented peers.