Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminal Justice


Studies have shown that there is a connection between negative family influences and adolescent deviance. The purpose of this study was to investigate how negative family factors may lead to adolescent substance use. The study examines literature that suggests that negative family factors may trigger adolescent substance use. This study utilized secondary data from the 1995 National Survey of Adolescents in the United States (Kilpatrick and Saunders, 1995). A representative sample of adolescents (ages 12-17) and adult parents from the United States was analyzed (n = 4,023). This study examined the direct effects negative family factors have on adolescent alcohol and marijuana use, while observing the mediating effects of peer delinquency, poor school performance, depression, and anxiety, controlling for age, race, sex, and SES. Results reveal that although children who come from homes where negative family influences are observed, peer delinquency appears to be the most prominent explanatory variable for adolescent substance use. This study will attempt to explain these results using social learning theory and general strain theory.

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