A Longitudinal Study Predicting Heroin and Alcohol Use Among Young Puerto Ricans

  • Ronald L. Nuttall
  • Ena Vazquez Nuttall


Substance usage patterns obtained in 1975 by interview were predicted from data collected in 1968 by questionnaire from 657 young Puerto Ricans residing in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

It was possible to predict 17% of the variance in heroin usage. For the later heroin user, academic failure was the major predictor. Later heroin users were characterized by very major academic failures. Also later heroin users tended not to be bothered by nervousness, were not anxious about tests, and tended to have parents who generally did not know what their child was doing. The later heroin users tended to be reserved rather than outgoing in their personality. Other variables predicting heroin usage were poverty, starting at an early age to earn money, possible deafness, and having a family from a rural background.

For alcohol usage, some 33% of the variance was predictable with the later heavy users of alcohol more likely to be male, low on the social desirability trait, and low on conscientiousness, but tending to be enthusiastic. Parents tended not to know what their child was doing and academic achievement was lower than average. The later alcohol users tended to stay up late on weekends, start smoking cigarettes early and heavily, and to join social clubs.

The predictive patterns for the two substances seemed quite different, especially in the social relationships with peers and for academic achievement.


Test Anxiety Substance Usage Beta Weight Heroin Usage Discriminant Function Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald L. Nuttall
    • 1
  • Ena Vazquez Nuttall
    • 2
  1. 1.Boston CollegeUSA
  2. 2.University of Massachusetts — AmherstUSA

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