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Swaim RC. Bates SC. Chavez EL.

Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523-1876, USA.

Structural equation socialization model of substance use among Mexican-American and white non-Hispanic school dropouts.

Journal of Adolescent Health. 23(3):128-38, 1998 Sep.

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PURPOSE: To test a socialization model of polydrug use among 
Mexican-American and white non-Hispanic school dropouts. METHODS: A sample 
of 910 Mexican-American and white non-Hispanic school dropouts were surveyed 
regarding their use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, and 
socialization characteristics that have previously been shown to be 
predictive of adolescent substance use. A structural equation model based on 
peer cluster theory was evaluated for goodness of fit and for differences in 
model characteristics by ethnicity and gender. RESULTS: Results partially 
confirmed peer cluster theory among school dropouts in that association with 
drug-using peers was the most powerful direct predictor of substance use. 
The effects of a number of other socializing influences were indirect, 
mediated through association with drug-using peers. Some differences were 
present between Mexican-American and white non-Hispanic subgroups. 
CONCLUSIONS: Results were similar to those obtained from previous tests of 
this model among youth who remain in school, suggesting that social 
influences on drug use are similar across students and school dropouts. 
Association with drug-using peers dominates the prediction of substance use 
among school dropouts. However, family communication of drug use sanctions 
helps to both limit substance use and strengthen family bonds. Prior school 
adjustment is likely to be an important protective factor in limiting 
substance use among Mexican-American dropouts.

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