The developmental course of illicit substance use from age 12 to 22: links with depressive, anxiety, and behavior disorders at age 18.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Previous theory and research suggest links between substance use and externalizing behavior problems, but links between substance use and internalizing problems are less clear. The present study sought to understand concurrent links among diagnoses of substance use disorders, internalizing disorders, and behavior disorders at age 18 as well as developmental trajectories of illicit substance use prior to and after this point.


Using data from 585 participants in the Child Development Project, this study examined comorbidity among substance use, behavior, and internalizing disorders at age 18 and trajectories of growth in illicit substance use from age 12 to age 22.


In this community sample, meeting diagnostic criteria for comorbid internalizing disorders, a behavioral disorder (conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder) alone, or both internalizing and behavioral disorders predicted higher concurrent substance use disorders (abuse, dependence, or withdrawal). Meeting diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder alone or depression alone did not predict higher concurrent substance use diagnoses. Over time, youths with behavioral disorders at age 18 showed a pattern of increasing substance use across early adolescence and higher levels of substance use than those with no diagnosis at age 18. Substance use declines from late adolescence to early adulthood were observed for all groups.


Substance use disorders were more highly comorbid with behavior disorders than with internalizing disorders at age 18, and behavior disorder and comorbid behavior-internalizing disorders at age 18 were related to trajectories characterized by steep increases in illicit substance use during adolescence and high rates of illicit substance use over time.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lansford, JE; Erath, S; Yu, T; Pettit, GS; Dodge, KA; Bates, JE

Published Date

  • August 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 49 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 877 - 885

PubMed ID

  • 18564069

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2728549

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7610

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-9630

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01915.x


  • eng