157864 Protective resources associated with progression to substance use disorders among youth exposed to family psychopathology

Monday, November 5, 2007: 1:15 PM

Shalini A. Tendulkar, ScM , Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Beth E. Molnar, ScD , Dept of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Background: Youth substance use disorders are a serious public health problem. While there is evidence that family psychopathology may lead youth toward substance abuse and dependence, few studies have examined protective factors associated with resiliency to this risk factor.

Methods: Data for this study come from two waves of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, a multi-level, prospective study of a multi-ethnic, urban sample and their neighborhoods. Data from 847 youth (ages 12 and 15 years at baseline) were examined to identify the relationship between parental psychopathology and subsequent alcohol and marijuana abuse and dependence. Individual, peer, family and community protective factors were studied. Non-linear mixed effects models were used.

Results: Among adolescents who met DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse or dependence, an estimated 38% had a parent who met criteria for depression, dysthymia or alcohol problems. In models adjusting for demographic characteristics including cohort, sex, ethnicity and family socioeconomic position, parental psychopathology was a significant predictor (OR = 1.80; 95% CI= 1.18-2.75) of adolescent abuse and dependence. Significant protective factors found included family social support (OR = .47; 95% CI=.29-.75) and peer social support (OR = .48; 95% CI =.28-.82).

Conclusions: This study provides evidence for a strong association between parental psychopathology and adolescent alcohol and marijuana abuse and dependence, concurrent with the existing literature. This study has important research and practice implications by demonstrating the important role social support plays in resiliency among adolescents living with caregivers with psychopathology.

Learning Objectives:
1. Articulate the relationship between family psychopathology and youth substance use disorders. 2. Describe the protective effects of family and peer social support on resiliency among adolescents living with caregivers with psychopathology.

Keywords: Substance Abuse Prevention, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
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