Adolescent Drug Use and Adult Drug Problems in Women: Direct, Interactive, and Mediational Effects

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The authors studied effects of variables assessed in adolescence on problems from drug use in adulthood in a community sample of women. One focus of this 13-year longitudinal study was moderators, which were hypothesized to exacerbate, or attenuate, the effects of early drug consumption on later drug problems. Potential moderators were sensation seeking, social conformity, academic orientation, parental support, depression, and drug problems in parents. Direct and mediating effects of these variables, as well as of drug consumption, were also evaluated. Results showed that most of the significant effects involved sensation seeking and social conformity. In addition, adolescent drug use significantly predicted adult polydrug problems. The effects of sensation seeking are consistent with the view that this variable reflects a sensitivity to drug use, which makes it more likely that drug use gets translated into drug abuse.

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