College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

The Relation of Adolescent Substance Use to Young Adult Autonomy, Positive Activity Involvement, and Perceived Competence

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1999

Keywords

Adolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Alcoholism, Cognition, Self Concept

Publication Title

Development and Psychopathology

ISSN

0954-5794

Volume

11

Issue/No.

4

Abstract

The current paper uses data from a longitudinal study of a high-risk sample to test the relation between adolescent alcohol and drug use and later young adult autonomy, positive activity involvement, and perceived competence. Participants (children of alcoholics and demographically matched controls) were assessed in three annual interviews in adolescence (mean age: 12.7 years at Time 1) and then again 5-7 years later, in young adulthood (median age: 20 years). Path analyses and latent growth curve models tested the effects of adolescent substance use on both self-reported and collateral-reported outcomes, controlling for correlated risk factors (parental alcoholism, adolescent psychopathology, and parental support), preexisting levels of the outcome, and concurrent young adult substance use. Results showed that adolescent drug use had a significant, unique negative effect on later autonomy and perceived competence. Alcohol use effects were more complex. Adolescent heavy drinking was associated with less positive adult outcomes, but more so in collateral reports than in self-reported outcomes. Moreover, young adult heavy drinking was either uncorrelated with or positively correlated with higher levels of perceived competence, suggesting different developmental significance of alcohol use in adolescence than in young adulthood.

DOI

10.1017/S0954579499002382