Alcohol and Marijuana are the most popular substances among adolescents in the United States. To prevent our youth from ever using marijuana or using alcohol too early, we must find out the exact age they are most likely to be initiated to it. Alcohol and Marijuana are often considered as gateway substances to other deadlier drugs. By delaying the onset of use by youths, we can prevent them from ever using other drugs. Many factors play into whether one adolescent is more at risk than another to be a future drug or substance abuser. Such things as age, sex, religious beliefs, parental responsibilities, and peers. This study that I am expounding upon, examines the dynamic patterns and predictions of alcohol and marijuana initiation.
This study examined how the risk for initiation changes over the course of adolescent development. The study uses a social development model to examine key features of control, social learning, and differential association theories. The model hypothesis that children learn patterns of behavior, whether pro-social or antisocial , from socializing agents such as family members, peers, and others.
The method by which the study was conducted is through questionnaire or survey. In September 1985, 18 Seattle elementary schools were identified that had over-representations of students from high-crime neighborhoods, according to police records. The study population included all fifth-grade students who attended these schools. The amount of participants numbered 1,053. Of the 1,053 students, 808 consented to participate in the study and made up this social development project sample. The number of students involved was comparable to other similar studies.
The data was collected in the fall of 1985, when most students were 10.5 years of age. (Median=10.7, mean=10.8, SD=0.52) In the spring of each succeeding year through 1991 and in the spring of 1993, when most participants were 18 years old, data was collected through the same questionnaire. Every time the students were asked to complete the questionnaire, they were given a monetary or small incentive. Each questionnaire took an hour in duration to complete.
The study separated the groups by one being exposed to a muticomponent preventive intervention in the first two years of the study. The initiation rates showed differences between the intervention and control groups. The full sample of students was balanced between male and female, (412 male, 396 females). Racial/Ethnic composition was 46% white, 24% black, 21% Asian, 6% Native American, 3% from other racial/ethnic groups.