Juvenile justice-involved youth experience high rates of substance use, which is concerning given associated negative consequences, including health and functional deficits. Family and peer factors are associated with a high risk of substance use among justice-involved youth. It is hypothesized that this risk process operates through pro-drug attitudes. However, limited research has been conducted on the mechanisms through which family and peer factors increase risk for substance use among juvenile justice involved youth. The current study examined both the direct and indirect effects of family and peer substance use on youth’s substance use (alcohol and illicit drug use). We also examined whether this relationship differs by race. Two hundred twenty six detained youth (81.9% male; 74.3% Black) were recruited from an urban county in the Midwest and completed a clinical interview and substance use assessment battery. A direct effect of family/peer risk on illicit drug use was found for all youth, though the effect was stronger among White youth. Results also supported the indirect effect pathway from family/peer risk to both illicit drug use and alcohol use through pro-drug attitudes. This pathway did not vary by race. These findings suggest that interventions should focus on targeting both family/peer risk and pro-drug attitudes to reduce substance use. Given the racial difference in the direct effect of family/peer risk on illicit drug use, there may be other factors that influence risk more strongly for White youth, which warrants further investigation.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aarons, G. A., Brown, S. A., Coe, M. T., Myers, M. G., Garland, A. F., Ezzet-Lofstram, R., & Hough, R. L. (1999). Adolescent alcohol and drug abuse and health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 24(6), 412–421.
Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA school-age forms & profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families (USA).
Akers, R. L. (1977). Deviant behavior: A social learning approach. 2nd edn. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Allen, M., Donohue, W. A., Griffin, A., Ryan, D., & Turner, M. M. M. (2003). Comparing the influence of parents and peers on the choice to use drugs: A meta-analytic summary of the literature. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 30(2), 163–186.
Ashby Wills, T., & Yaeger, A. M. (2003). Family factors and adolescent substance use: Models and mechanisms. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(6), 222–226.
Bahr, S. J., Hoffmann, J. P., & Yang, X. (2005). Parental and peer influences on the risk of adolescent drug use. Journal of Primary Prevention, 26(6), 529–551.
Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Barkin, S. L., Smith, K. S., & DuRant, R. H. (2002). Social skills and attitudes associated with substance use behaviors among young adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30(6), 448–454.
Blanton, H., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., Conger, K. J., & Smith, G. E. (1997). Role of family and peers in the development of prototypes associated with substance use. Journal of Family Psychology, 11(3), 271–288.
Chassin, L. (2008). Juvenile justice and substance use. The Future of Children, 18(2), 165–183.
Chassin, L., Knight, G., Vargas-Chanes, D., Losoya, S. H., & Naranjo, D. (2009). Substance use treatment outcomes in a sample of male serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 36(2), 183–194.
Chung, H. L., & Steinberg, L. (2006). Relations between neighborhood factors, parenting behaviors, peer deviance, and delinquency among serious juvenile offenders. Developmental Psychology, 42(2), 319–331. https://doi.org/10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2069.
Cleveland, M. J., Gibbons, F. X., Gerrard, M., Pomery, E. A., & Brody, G. H. (2005). The impact of parenting on risk cognitions and risk behavior: A study of mediation and moderation in a panel of African American adolescents. Child Development, 76(4), 900–916.
Conn, B. M., & Marks, A. K. (2014). Ethnic/racial differences in peer and parent influence on adolescent prescription drug misuse. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 35(4), 257–265.
Cooper, K., May, D., Soderstrom, I., & Jarjoura, G. R. (2009). Examining theoretical predictors of substance use among a sample of incarcerated youth. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 48(8), 669–695. https://doi.org/10.1080/10509670903287675.
Curtis, N. M., Ronan, K. R., & Borduin, C. M. (2004). Multisystemic treatment: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Journal of family Psychology, 18(3), 411–419.
Deutsch, A. R., Crockett, L. J., Wolff, J. M., & Russell, S. T. (2012). Parent and peer pathways to adolescent delinquency: Variations by ethnicity and neighborhood context. Journal of Youth and adolescence, 41(8), 1078–1094.
Dishion, T. J., & Skaggs, N. M. (2000). An ecological analysis of monthly” bursts” in early adolescent substance use. Applied Developmental Science, 4(2), 89–97.
Ewing, B. A., Osilla, K. C., Pedersen, E. R., Hunter, S. B., Miles, J. N., & D’Amico, E. J. (2015). Longitudinal family effects on substance use among an at-risk adolescent sample. Addictive Behaviors, 41, 185–191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.10.017.
Fagan, A. A., Van Horn, M. L., Hawkins, J. D., & Jaki, T. (2013). Differential effects of parental controls on adolescent substance use: For whom is the family most important? Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 29(3), 347–368.
Feldstein Ewing, S. W., Filbey, F. M., Loughran, T. A., Chassin, L., & Piquero, A. R. (2015). Which matters most? Demographic, neuropsychological, personality, and situational factors in long-term marijuana and alcohol trajectories for justice-involved male youth. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(3), 603–612. https://doi.org/10.1037/adb0000076.
Gomez, R., Vance, A., & Gomez, R. M. (2014). Analysis of the convergent and discriminant validity of the CBCL, TRF, and YSR in a clinic-referred sample. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(8), 1413–1425.
Gordon, D. A., Graves, K., & Arbuthnot, J. (1995). The effect of functional family therapy for delinquents on adult criminal behavior. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 22(1), 60–73.
Greenwood, P. (2008). Prevention and intervention programs for juvenile offenders. The Future of Children, 18(2), 185–210. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20179984.
Hawkins, J. D., Catalano, R. F., & Miller, J. Y. (1992). Risk and protective factors for alcohol and other drug problems in adolescence and early adulthood: Implications for substance abuse prevention. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 64.
Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Hemovich, V., Lac, A., & Crano, W. D. (2011). Understanding early-onset drug and alcohol outcomes among youth: The role of family structure, social factors, and interpersonal perceptions of use. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 16(3), 249–267.
Henderson, C. E., Young, D. W., Jainchill, N., Hawke, J., Farkas, S., & Davis, R. M. (2007). Program use of effective drug abuse treatment practices for juvenile offenders. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32(3), 279–290.
Henggeler, S. W., Clingempeel, W. G., Brondino, M. J., & Pickrel, S. G. (2002). Four-year follow-up of multisystemic therapy with substance-abusing and substance-dependent juvenile offenders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 41(7), 868–874.
Henggeler, S. W., Halliday-Boykins, C. A., Cunningham, P. B., Randall, J., Shapiro, S. B., & Chapman, J. E. (2006). Juvenile drug court: Enhancing outcomes by integrating evidence-based treatments. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(1), 42.
Henggeler, S. W., Letourneau, E. J., Chapman, J. E., Borduin, C. M., Schewe, P. A., & McCart, M. R. (2009). Mediators of change for Multisystemic Therapy with juvenile sexual offenders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(3), 451–462. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013971.
Henggeler, S. W., Melton, G. B., & Smith, L. A. (1992). Family preservation using multisystemic therapy: An effective alternative to incarcerating serious juvenile offenders. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60(6), 953–961. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.60.6.953.
Henggeler, S. W., Pickrel, S. G., & Brondino, M. J. (1999). Multisystemic treatment of substance-abusing and-dependent delinquents: Outcomes, treatment fidelity, and transportability. Mental Health Services Research, 1(3), 171–184.
Henry, K. L., Oetting, E. R., & Slater, M. D. (2009). The role of attachment to family, school, and peers in adolescents’ use of alcohol: A longitudinal study of within-person and between-persons effects. Journal of counseling Psychology, 56(4), 564.
Hine, D. W., McKenzie-Richer, A., Lewko, J., Tilleczek, K., & Perreault, L. (2002). A comparison of the mediational properties of four adolescent smoking expectancy measures. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 16(3), 187–195. https://doi.org/10.1037//0893-164X.16.3.187.
Hockenberry, S., & Puzzanchera, C. (2015). Juvenile Court Statistics 2013. Pittsburgh, PA: National Center for Juvenile Justice.
Ivanova, M. Y., Achenbach, T. M., Rescorla, L. A., Dumenci, L., Almqvist, F., Bilenberg, N., Bird, H., Broberg, A. G., Dobrean, A., Dopfner, M., & Erol, N. (2007). The generalizability of the Youth Self-Report syndrome structure in 23 societies. Journal of consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75(5), 729.
Johnston, L. D., O’Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., Schulenberg, J. E., & Miech, R. A. (2016). Monitoring the future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2015: Volume II, college students and adults ages 19–55. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.
Kazdin, A. E. (2007). Mediators and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy research. Annual Review in Clinical Psychology, 3, 1–27.
Kazdin, A. E., & Kendall, P. C. (1998). Current progress and future plans for developing effective treatments: Comments and perspectives. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 27(2), 217–226.
Krischer, M. K., Sevecke, K., Lehmkuhl, G., & Pukrop, R. (2007). Dimensional assessment of personality pathology in female and male juvenile delinquents. Journal of Personality Disorders, 21(6), 675–689.
Krohn, M. D., Lizotte, A. J., Thornberry, T. P., Smith, C., & McDowall, D. (1996). Reciprocal causal relationships among drug use, peers, and beliefs: A five-wave panel model. Journal of Drug Issues, 26(2), 405–428.
Lewis, T. F., & Mobley, A. K. (2010). Substance abuse and dependency risk: The role of peer perceptions, marijuana involvement, and attitudes toward substance use among college students. Journal of Drug Education, 40(3), 299–314.
Liddle, H. A., Dakof, G. A., Henderson, C., & Rowe, C. (2011). Implementation outcomes of multidimensional family therapy-detention to community: A reintegration program for drug-using juvenile detainees. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(4), 587–604.
Mason, M. J., Mennis, J., Linker, J., Bares, C., & Zaharakis, N. (2014). Peer attitudes effects on adolescent substance use: the moderating role of race and gender. Prevention Science, 15(1), 56–64.
Mauricio, A. M., Little, M., Chassin, L., Knight, G. P., Piquero, A. R., Losoya, S. H., & Vargas-Chanes, D. (2009). Juvenile Offenders’ Alcohol and Marijuana Trajectories: Risk and Protective Factor Effects in the Context of Time in a Supervised Facility. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38(3), 440–453. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-008-9324-5.
McClelland, G. M., Teplin, L. A., & Abram, K. M. (2004). Detection and prevalence of substance use among juvenile detainees. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/203934.pdf.
Miller, F. G., & Lazowski, L. E. (2001). The adolescent SASSI-2 manual: Identifying substance use disorders. Springville, IN: The SASSI Institute.
Miller, F. G., Renn, W. R., & Lazowski, L. E. (2001). The adolescent substance abuse subtle screening inventory–second edition (SASSI-A2): User’s guide.
Miller, S. M., Siegel, J. T., Hohman, Z., & Crano, W. D. (2013). Factors mediating the association of the recency of parent’s marijuana use and their adolescent children’s subsequent initiation. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 848–853. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032201.
Moss, H. B., Chen, C. M., & Yi, H. Y. (2014). Early adolescent patterns of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana polysubstance use and young adult substance use outcomes in a nationally representative sample. Drug and Alcohol dependence, 136, 51–62.
Mulder, E., Brand, E., Bullens, R., & Van Marle, H. (2011). Risk factors for overall recidivism and severity of recidivism in serious juvenile offenders. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 55(1), 118–135.
Nelson, B. A. (2016). Juvenile delinquency: Causes, control and consequence. New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Incorporated.
Office of Applied Studies. (2003). Substance use, abuse, and dependence among youths who have been in jail or a detention center. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k4/DetainedYouth/detainedYouth.pdf.
Ozechowski, T. J., & Liddle, H. A. (2000). Family-based therapy for adolescent drug abuse: Knowns and unknowns. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 3(4), 269–298.
Perera‐Diltz, D. M., & Perry, J. C. (2011). Screening for adolescent substance‐related disorders using the SASSI‐A2: Implicatins for nonreporting youth. Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, 31(2), 66–79.
Petraitis, J., Flay, B. R., & Miller, T. Q. (1995). Reviewing theories of adolescent substance use: Organizing pieces in the puzzle. Psychological Bulletin, 117(1), 67–86.
Prinstein, M. J., Boergers, J., & Spirito, A. (2001). Adolescents’ and their friends’ health-risk behavior: Factors that alter or add to peer influence. Journal of pediatric Psychology, 26(5), 287–298.
Randall, J., Henggeler, S. W., Cunningham, P. B., Rowland, M. D., & Swenson, C. C. (2001). Adapting multisystemic therapy to treat adolescent substance abuse more effectively. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 8(4), 359–366.
Reed, M. D., & Rountree, P. W. (1997). Peer pressure and adolescent substance use. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 13(2), 143–180.
Rowe, C. L., Wang, W., Greenbaum, P., & Liddle, H. A. (2008). Predicting HIV/STD risk level and substance use disorders among incarcerated adolescents. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 40(4), 503–512.
Stein, L. A. R., Lebeau-Craven, R., Martin, R., Colby, S. M., Barnett, N. P., Golembeske, Jr, C., & Penn, J. V. (2005). Use of the adolescent SASSI in a juvenile correctional setting. Assessment, 12(4), 384–394.
Thompson, S. J., Pomeroy, E. C., & Gober, K. (2005). Family-based treatment models targeting substance use and high-risk behaviors among adolescents: A review. Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work, 2(1-2), 207–233.
Thornberry, T. P. (1987). Toward an interactional theory of delinquency. Criminology, 25(4), 863–892.
Thurber, S., & Hollingsworth, D. K. (1992). Validity of the Achenback and Edelbrock Youth Self-Report with hospitalized adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 21(3), 249–254.
Tripodi, S. J., & Bender, K. (2011). Substance abuse treatment for juvenile offenders: A review of quasi-experimental and experimental research. Journal of Criminal Justice, 39(3), 246–252.
van der Put, C. E., Creemers, H. E., & Hoeve, M. (2014). Differences between juvenile offenders with and without substance use problems in the prevalence and impact of risk and protective factors for criminal recidivism. Drug and Alcohol dependence, 134, 267–274.
Vaughn, M. G., Wallace, Jr, J. M., Davis, L. E., Fernandes, G. T., & Howard, M. O. (2008). Variations in mental health problems, substance use, and delinquency between African American and Caucasian juvenile offenders: Implications for reentry services. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 52(3), 311–329.
Vincent, G. M., Grisso, T., Terry, A., & Banks, S. (2008). Sex and race differences in mental health symptoms in juvenile justice: The MAYSI-2 national meta-analysis. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(3), 282–290.
Vreugdenhil, C., van den Brink, W., Ferdinand, R., Wouters, L., & Doreleijers, T. (2006). The ability of YSR scales to predict DSM/DISC–C psychiatric disorders among incarcerated male adolescents. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 15(2), 88–96.
Wallace, J. M., & Muroff, J. R. (2002). Preventing substance abuse among African American children and youth: Race differences in risk factor exposure and vulnerability. Journal of Primary Prevention, 22(3), 235–261.
Watt, T. T. (2005). Race/ethnic differences in alcohol abuse among youth: An examination of risk-taking attitudes as a mediating factor. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 3(3), 33–47.
Welty, L. J., Harrison, A. J., Abram, K. M., Olson, N. D., Aaby, D. A., McCoy, K. P., & Teplin, L. A. (2016). Health disparities in drug- and alcohol-use disorders: A 12-year longitudinal study of youths after detention. American Journal of Public Health, 106(5), 872–880. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2015.303032.
Wiesner, M., Kim, H. K., & Capaldi, D. M. (2005). Developmental trajectories of offending: Validation and prediction to young adult alcohol use, drug use, and depressive symptoms. Development and psychopathology, 17(1), 251–270.
Wills, T. A., & Yaeger, A. M. (2003). Family factors and adolescent substance use: Models and mechanisms. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 12(6), 222–226.
Young, D. W., Dembo, R., & Henderson, C. E. (2007). A National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment for Juvenile Offenders. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32(3), 255–266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2006.12.018.
T.C.B.Z.: designed and executed the study, assisted in the data analytic plan, and wrote the paper. R.L.C.: collaborated with the design and writing of the paper. D.E.B.: assisted with data collection, analyzed the data and writing of the paper. A.H.: assisted with data collection, collaborated in the design and writing of the paper. M.A.: designed the original data collection, collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.
Work was supported by NIH award KL2TR001106, K01DA043654, R25DA035163, P30DA027827, F31AA024682, and F31DA044728.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Indiana University—Purdue University, Indianapolis provided IRB approval for this study.
Assent for clinical assessments was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. Participants were wards of the local justice system at the time of the assessment and that justice system provided consent for the clinical assessment from which data was drawn for the current study.
About this article
Cite this article
Zapolski, T.C.B., Clifton, R.L., Banks, D.E. et al. Family and Peer Influences on Substance Attitudes and Use among Juvenile Justice-Involved Youth. J Child Fam Stud 28, 447–456 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1268-0
- Substance use
- Juvenile justice