Predicting high-risk versus higher-risk substance use during late adolescence from early adolescent risk factors using Latent Class Analysis.
Much of the existing risk factor literature focuses on identifying predictors of low-levels of substance use versus higher-levels of substance use. In this paper, we explore more nuanced patterns of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use during late adolescence. Our aims were to: 1) identify subgroups of youth with qualitatively different patterns of ATOD use; and 2) explore whether membership among qualitatively distinct, high-risk classes could be predicted based on early adolescent risk factors. Data came from a selected subsample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 1,689). Predictors were measured when youth were about 12 years old; ATOD use was assessed when youth were aged 17 years. Results showed that adolescent ATOD use is not a homogenous behavior. Four distinct classes of adolescent ATOD users were derived. Each class had a qualitatively distinct and discriminable pattern of ATOD use. Ecological predictors were shown to differentiate between latent classes, with peer factors playing a particularly important role in differentiating between high-risk and higher-risk users. Implications for prevention and limitations are discussed.
Lamont, AE; Woodlief, D; Malone, PS
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)