Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 369–382 | Cite as

Neighborhood, Family, and Peer Factors Associated with Early Adolescent Smoking and Alcohol Use

  • Christopher CambronEmail author
  • Rick Kosterman
  • Richard F. Catalano
  • Katarina Guttmannova
  • J. David Hawkins
Empirical Research


There is broad agreement that neighborhood contexts are important for adolescent development, but there is less consensus about their association with adolescent smoking and alcohol use. Few studies have examined associations between neighborhood socioeconomic contexts and smoking and alcohol use while also accounting for differences in family and peer risk factors for substance use. Data drawn from the Seattle Social Development Project (N = 808), a gender-balanced (female = 49%), multiethnic, theory-driven longitudinal study originating in Seattle, WA, were used to estimate trajectories of smoking and alcohol use from 5th to 9th grade. Time-varying measures of neighborhood socioeconomic, family, and peer factors were associated with smoking and alcohol use at each wave after accounting for average growth in smoking and alcohol use over time and demographic differences. Results indicated that living in more socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods, lower family income, lower family general functioning, more permissive family smoking environments, and affiliation with deviant peers were independently associated with increased smoking. Lower family functioning, more permissive family alcohol use environments, and deviant peers were independently associated with increased alcohol use. The effect of neighborhood disadvantage on smoking was mediated by family income and deviant peers while the effect of neighborhood disadvantage on alcohol use was mediated by deviant peers alone. Family functioning and family substance use did not mediate associations between neighborhood disadvantage and smoking or alcohol use. The results highlight the importance of neighborhood, family, and peer factors in early adolescent smoking and alcohol use. Future studies should examine the unique association of neighborhood disadvantage with adolescent smoking net of family socioeconomics, functioning, and substance use, as well as peer affiliations. Better understanding of the role of contextual factors in early adolescent smoking and alcohol use can help bolster efforts to prevent both short and long harms from substance use.


Neighborhood disadvantage Early onset smoking Early onset alcohol use Adolescent development Latent growth curve 




Data collection for this study was supported by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (5R01DA003721 and 5R01DA033956). Support was provided a National Poverty Research Center Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison with funding from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cooperative Agreement number AE00103. Support was provided by a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant, No. R24HD042828; and training grant No. T32HD007543 to the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington. The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author and should not be construed as representing the opinions or policy of any agency of the Federal government.

Authors’ Contributions

C.C. conceived of the study design, performed the statistical analyses, interpreted the data, and drafted the manuscript; R.K. participated in the data interpretation and helped draft the manuscript; R.C. participated in data interpretation and helped draft the manuscript; K.G. participated in the statistical analyses, data interpretation, and helped draft the manuscript; J.H. participated in data interpretation and helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

R.F. Catalano is on the board of Channing Bete Company, distributer of prevention programs. The remaining authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Washington and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA
  2. 2.Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesCenter for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors, University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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