The middle school experience and substance use in early adolescence Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Zhang, Lei
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The present study examined the relationship between early adolescents' schooling experience and substance use behavior (cigarette lifetime use and alcohol lifetime use) in early adolescence. The purpose of this study was to examine to what extent middle school experience and adjustment in the first-year of middle school (i.e., sixth grade), and overall middle school adjustment from sixth grade to eighth grade, were associated with cigarette/alcohol use in middle school. Specifically, this study was conducted in two steps. First, it investigated the extent to which adjustment in middle school associated with cigarette and alcohol use concurrently and longitudinally for individual adolescents; then it explored the extent to which exposure to risks residing in early adolescents' social contexts in sixth grade associated with cigarette and alcohol use initiation longitudinally throughout the middle school years. This study used five waves of data from The Context of Adolescent Substance Use Study, which was collected from 2002 to 2005 in three rural counties in North Carolina. Middle school experience was measured by school connectedness and school disengagement. The risks that early adolescents were exposed to in sixth grade consisted of school, family and peer factors. Multiple statistical methods such as logistic regression and growth curve analysis were implemented to test the relations between middle school experience/adjustment and cigarette/alcohol lifetime use; and survival analysis was conducted to examine the relation between the risk factors and cigarette/alcohol use initiation. Overall, the results revealed that (1) negative middle school experience in sixth grade was concurrently positively associated with cigarette and alcohol use in sixth grade; (2) negative middle school adjustment throughout the middle school years were longitudinally positively associated with cigarette and alcohol use. The results further indicated that early adolescents who were exposed to more risks in sixth grade initiated smoking faster than those who were exposed to fewer risks.
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  • Hamm, Jill
  • Open access

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