The effects of family stressors on substance use initiation in adolescence
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
Smoking and drinking are critical problems in adolescence that have long-term adverse impacts on health and socio-economic factors. We examine the extent to which family stresses influence the timing of initiation of smoking and drinking. Using national panel data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study (NELS) we capitalize on the survey design and use school-level fixed effects that control for the local environments, including prices of cigarettes and alcohol. In addition, we narrow our control group to classmates who will experience a similar stressor in the future. We find that a composite measure of family stressors when young increases the likelihood of initiating tobacco and alcohol use, with much of the impact attributable to parental divorce. In our baseline estimates, the composite stress measure is associated with a 30% increase in the likelihood of smoking and a 20% increase in drinking. When we control for multiple sources of confounding, the impact shrinks and remains significant for smoking but not for drinking. We conclude that studies which do not control for confounding are likely to significantly overestimate the impact of family stress on substance use. Our approach helps to move the literature forward by separating causal results from spurious associations.
- Anda, RF, Croft, JB, Felitti, VJ, Nordenberg, D, Giles, WH, Williamson, DF, Giovino, GA (1999) Adverse childhood experiences and smoking during adolescence and adulthood. Journal of the American Medical Association 282: pp. 1652-1658 CrossRef
- Clark, DB, Lesnick, L, Hegdedus, AM (1997) Traumas and other adverse life events in adolescents with alcohol abuse and dependence. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 36: pp. 1744-1751 CrossRef
- Dahl, RE (2004) Adolescent brain development: A period of vulnerabilities and opportunities. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1021: pp. 1-22 CrossRef
- DeCicca, P, Kenkel, D, Mathios, A (2000) Racial difference in the determinants of smoking onset. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty 21: pp. 311-340 CrossRef
- DeCicca, P, Kenkel, D, Mathios, A (2002) Putting out the fires: Will higher cigarette taxes reduce the onset of youth smoking?. Journal of Political Economy 110: pp. 144-169 CrossRef
- Dube, S, Felitti, V, Dong, M, Chapman, D, Giles, W, Anda, R (2003) Childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction and the risk of illicit drug use: The adverse childhood experiences study. Pediatrics 111: pp. 564-572 CrossRef
- Fletcher, J. M. (2009). Peer influences on alcohol consumption. Working Paper, Yale University.
- Fletcher, J. M., & Sindelar, J. L. (2010). The effects of family stressors on substance use initiation in adolescence. Available: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1726141.
- Gerrard, M, Gibbons, FX, Zhao, L, Russell, DW, Reis-Bergan, M (1999) The effect of peers’ alcohol consumption on parental influence: A cognitive mediational model. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 13: pp. 32-44
- Giovino, GA (2007) The tobacco epidemic in the United States. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 33: pp. S318-S326 CrossRef
- Kassel, JD, Stroud, LR, Paronis, CA (2003) Smoking, stress, and negative affect: Correlation, causation and context across stages of smoking. Psychological Bulletin 129: pp. 270-304 CrossRef
- Khantzian, EJ (1997) The self-medication hypothesis of substance use disorders: A reconsideration and recent applications. Harvard Review of Psychiatry 4: pp. 231-244 CrossRef
- Koval, JJ, Pederson, LJ (1999) Stress-coping and other psychosocial risk factors: A model for smoking in grade 6 students. Addictive Behaviors 24: pp. 207-218 CrossRef
- Leventhal, H, Cleary, PD (1980) The smoking problem: A review of the research and theory in behavioral risk modification. Psychological Bulletin 88: pp. 370-405 CrossRef
- Lloyd, D, Turner, J (2008) Cumulative lifetime adversities and alcohol dependence in adolescence and youth adulthood. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 93: pp. 217-226 CrossRef
- Masten, AS (2004) Regulatory processes, risk, and resilience in adolescent development. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1021: pp. 310-319 CrossRef
- McGue, M, Elkins, I, Iacono, WG (2000) Genetic and environmental influences on adolescent substance use and abuse. American Journal of Medical Genetics 96: pp. 671-677 CrossRef
- Osofsky, JD (1999) The impact of violence on children. Future Child 9: pp. 33-49 CrossRef
- Patton, GC, Carlin, JB, Coffey, C, Wolfe, R, Hibbert, M, Bowes, G (1998) The course of early smoking: A population-based cohort study. Addiction 93: pp. 1251-1260 CrossRef
- Rose, RJ (1998) A developmental behavioral-genetic perspective on alcoholism risk. Alcohol Health & Research World 22: pp. 131-143
- Span, SA, Earleywine, M (1999) Cognitive functioning moderates the relation between hyperactivity and drinking habits. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 23: pp. 224-229 CrossRef
- Spielberger, CD Psychological determinants of smoking behavior. In: Tollison, RD eds. (1986) Smoking and society: Toward a more balanced assessment. Lexington Books, Lexington, MA, pp. 89-134
- Surgeon General Report. (1994). Preventing tobacco use among young people. A report of the Surgeon General, 1994. Atlanta: US Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, (US Government Printing Office Publication No S/N 017-001-00491-0).
- Surgeon General Report. (2004). The health consequences of smoking: A report of the surgeon general. USDHHS, Office the Surgeon General. www.surgeongeneral.gov.
- Swadi, H (1999) Individual risk factors for adolescent substance use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 55: pp. 209-224 CrossRef
- Wills, TA, Shiffman, S Coping and substance use: A conceptual framework. In: Shiffman, S, Wills, TA eds. (1985) Coping and substance use. Academic Press, New York, pp. 3-24
- The effects of family stressors on substance use initiation in adolescence
Review of Economics of the Household
Volume 10, Issue 1 , pp 99-114
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Substance use
- Family stress
- Industry Sectors