Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 49-60

First online:

Peer Behaviors and Co-occurring Disorders Among Adolescents

  • Amanda R. ReedyAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, Eastern Washington University Email author 
  • , Jeanne A. SaundersAffiliated withSchool of Social Work, The University of Iowa

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The complexity of co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health problems among adolescents challenges both researchers and practitioners. The purpose of this study was to further disentangle those relationships and examine the role that peers who engage in deviant activities plays in that relationship. A subset of variables from a larger study of adolescents referred for substance use assessment was analyzed in this study. The results suggest that as the severity of substance use and mental health problems increases so does the number of peers who engage in deviant activities; peers partially mediates the relationship between those two variables. Implications for social work practice and other professionals are discussed.


Co-occurring Mental health Substance use Peer behaviors Adolescents