Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 331–357

Depression and substance use in two divergent high school cultures: A quantitative and qualitative analysis

  • Niobe Way
  • Helena Y. Stauber
  • Michael J. Nakkula
  • Perry London
Article

Abstract

Research has generally concluded that adolescent depression and substance use are strongly interrelated, but has rarely considered how this relationship may vary across diverse populations. In this study, we used quantitative and qualitative methods to explore the relationships among depression and cigarette, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drug use across two culturally disparate environments: a suburban and an inner-city high school. Our sample included 164 suburban and 242 inner-city high school students. The students completed Kovacs' Children's Depression Inventory of 1985 and substance use measures derived from various sources. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with subjects who scored in the top 10% of the CDI (N=19) from both schools. Our quantitative findings indicated a positive association between depression and cigarette, marijuana, and harder drug use among the suburban students, and no association between depression and the use of any substances for the urban students. There were no significant differences in levels of reported depression across samples. However, with the exception of marijuana use, suburban students reported greater involvement in substance use than urban students. Our qualitative analyses suggest that across-school differences in the relationships among depression and substance use may be related to the varied meanings of depression and substance use that are informed by cultural context.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Andrews, J. A., Hops, H., Duncan, S. C., Tildesley, E., Ary, D., and Smolkowksi, K. (1992, March). Long-term consequences of level of substance use in adolescence. Paper presented at the fourth biennial meetings of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  2. Aneshensel, C. S., and Huba, G. J. (1983). Depression, alcohol use, and smoking over one year: A four wave longitudinal causal model.J. Abnorm. Psychol. 92: 134–150.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Blau, G., Gillespie, J., Felner, R. D., and Evans, E. G. (1988). Predisposition to drug use in rural adolescents: Preliminary relationships and methodological considerations.J. Drug Educat. 18: 13–22.Google Scholar
  4. Braucht, G. N., Brakarsch, D., Follingstad, D., and Berry, K. L. (1973). Deviant drugs use in adolescence: A review of psychological correlates.Psychol. Bull. 79: 92–106.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Darling, N., and Brown, B. B. (1992, March) Patterning of academic performance and deviance among African-American and European-American youths in three communities. Paper presented at the biennial meetings of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  6. Dembo, R., Burgos, W., Des Jarlais, D., and Schmeidler, J. (1979). Ethnicity and drug use among urban junior high school youths.Intl. J. Addict. 14: 557–568.Google Scholar
  7. Doerfler, L., Felner, R., Rowlison, R., Raley, P., & Evans, E. (1988). Depression in children and adolescents: A comparative analysis of the utility and construct validity of two assessment measures.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 56: 769–772.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Donovan, J., Costa, F., and Jessor, R. (1985).Health Questionnaire. University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science.Google Scholar
  9. Finch, A. J., Saylor, C. F., and Edwards, (1985). Children's Depression Inventory: Sex and grade norms for normal children.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 53: 424–425.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Green, B. J. (1980). Depression in early adolescence: An exploratory investigation of its frequency, intensity, and correlates (Doctoral dissertation, Pennsylvania State University).Dissert. Abst. Int. 41: 3890B.Google Scholar
  11. Hager, D. L., Verner, A. M., & Stewart, C. S. (1971). Patterns of adolescent drug use in middle America.J. Counsel. Psychol. 18: 292–297.Google Scholar
  12. Harris, E. M. (1971). Measurement of alienation of college students: Marijuana users and nonusers.J. School Health 41: 130–133.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaminer, Y. (1991). The magnitude of concurrent psychiatric disorders in hospitalized substance abusing adolescents.Child Psychiat. Human Develop. 22: 89–95.Google Scholar
  14. Kaplan, S. L., Nussbaum, M., Skomorowsky, P., Shenker, R., and Ramsey, P. (1980). Health habits and depression in adolescence.J. Youth Adolesc. 9: 299–304.Google Scholar
  15. Kaplan, S. L., Landa, B., Weinhold, C., and Shenker, R. (1984). Adverse health behaviors and depressive symptomatology in adolescents.J. Am. Acad. Child Psychiat. 23: 595–601.Google Scholar
  16. Kennedy, B., Konstantareas, M., and Homatidis, S. (1987). A behavior profile of polydrug abusers.J. Youth Adolesc. 16: 115–117.Google Scholar
  17. Kovacs, M. (1980–1981). Rating scales to assess depression in school-aged children.Acta Paedopsychiat. 46: 305–315.Google Scholar
  18. Kovacs, M. (1982). The Children's Depression Inventory: A self-rated depression scale for school-aged youngsters. Unpublished manuscript, University of Pittsburgh.Google Scholar
  19. Kovacs, M. (1983). Definition and assessment of childhood depressions. In Ricks, D. F., and Dohrenwend, B. S. (eds.),Origins of Psychopathology: Problems in Research and Public Policy. Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Kovacs, M. (1985). The Children's Depression Inventory.Psychol. Bull. 21: 995–998.Google Scholar
  21. Mensch, B. S., and Kandel, D. B. (1988). Dropping out of high school and drug involvement.Social. Educat. 61: 95–113.Google Scholar
  22. McCauley, E., Burke, P., Mitchell, J., and Moss, S. (1988). Cognitive attributes of depression in children and adolescents.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 56: 903–908.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. McCord, J. (1990). Problems behaviors. In Feldman, S. S., and Elliot, G. R. (eds.),At the Threshold: The Developing Adolescent. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  24. Paton, S., and Kandel, D. B. (1978). Psychological factors and adolescent illicit drugs use: Ethnicity and sex differences.Adolescence 13: 187–199.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Paton, S., Kessler, R., and Kandel, D. (1977). Depressive mood and adolescent illicit drug use: A longitudinal analysis.J. Genet. Psychol. 131: 267–289.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Prendergast, T. J. (1974). Family characteristics associated with marijuana use among adolescents.Int. J. Addict. 12: 625–632.Google Scholar
  27. Reinherz, H. Z., Frost, A. K., and Pakiz, B. (1991). Changing faces: Correlates of depressive symptoms in late adolescence.Family Commun. Health 14: 52–63.Google Scholar
  28. Robins, L. N., & Przybeck, T. R. (1985). Age of onset of drug use as a factor in drug and other disorders. In Jones, C. L., and Battjes, R. J. (eds.),Etiology of Drug Abuse: Implication for Prevention. National Institute of Drug Abuse, Rockville, MD.Google Scholar
  29. Saylor, C. F., Finch, A. J., Spirito, A., and Bennett, B. (1984). The Children's Depression Inventory: A systematic evaluation of psychometric properties.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 52: 955–967.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Shiffman, S., and Wills, T. A. (1985).Coping and Substance Use. Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  31. Siegel, R. A., and Ehrlich, A. (1989). A comparison of personality characteristics, family relationships, and drug-taking behavior in low and high socioeconomic status adolescents who are drug abusers.Adolescence 24: 925–936.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Simons, R. L., Whitbeck, L. B., Conger, R. D., and Melby, J. N. (1991). The effects of social skills, values, peers, and depression on adolescent substance use.J. Early Adoles. 11: 466–481.Google Scholar
  33. Simons, R., Conger, R. D., and Whitbeck, L. B. (1988). A multistage social learning model of the influences of family and peers upon adolescent substance abuse.J. Drug Issues 18: 293–315.Google Scholar
  34. Skager, R., and Firth, S. L. (1988).Identifying High Risk Substance Users in Grades 9 and 11: A Report Based on the 1987/1988 California Substance Abuse Survey. Crime Prevention Center, Office of the Attorney General, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
  35. Strauss, A. (1987).Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  36. Smart, R. G., and Fejer, D. (1969). Illicit drug users: Their social backgrounds, drug use and psychopathology.J. Health Social. Behav. 10: 297–308.Google Scholar
  37. Sutherland, E. W., and Cressey, D. R. (1978).Criminology (10th ed.). Lippincott, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  38. Way, N., Stauber, H., and Nakkula, M. (1990). Hopelessness, depression, and substance use in two divergent cultures. Paper presented at the Society for Research on Child Development in Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
  39. Weissman, M. M., Orvaschel, H., and Padian, N. (1980). Children's symptom and social functioning self-report scales: Comparison of mothers' and children's reports.J. Nervous and Mental Dis. 168: 736–740.Google Scholar
  40. Worchel, F., Nolan, B., and Wilson, V. (1987). New perspectives on child and adolescent depression.J. School Psychol. 25: 411–414.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niobe Way
    • 1
  • Helena Y. Stauber
    • 2
  • Michael J. Nakkula
    • 2
  • Perry London
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew Haven
  2. 2.Graduate School of EducationHarvard UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Rutgers UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Graduate School of EducationHarvard UniversityUSA
  5. 5.B.A. Yeshiva University
  6. 6.Ph.D. Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations