Relations of Delinquency to Adolescent Substance Use and Problem Use: A Prospective Study

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Although studies have indicated that delinquency predicts adolescent substance use, little research has examined whether it predicts problem use or has explored the mechanisms by which it relates to problem use. Accordingly, this study tested the nature of the relations between delinquency and problem use over a 1-year interval in adolescents who had been treated for substance abuse. Results show that delinquency moderated the relation between consumption and problem use, with high-delinquent teens showing consistently elevated levels of use-related problems across all levels of substance use and nondelinquent teens showing a stronger correspondence between use levels and problems. Results support the assertion that antisocial pathology fosters problem substance use. Implications for treatment and future research are discussed.

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