195673 Place-Based Social Network Quality and Correlates of Substance Use Among Urban Adolescents

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Michael Mason, PhD , Department of Education & Human Services, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Patricia Zelenak, RN BSN MSOD , Health Care Center Director, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Thomas W. Valente, PhD , Department of Preventive Medicine- Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
J. D. Coatsworth, PhD , Dept of Human Development & Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Jeremy Mennis, PhD , Department of Geography & Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Frank Lawrence, PhD , Statistical Consulting Group, Arlington, VA
This research investigated the relationship between adolescents' personal place-based social networks and substance use. Through linking activity space data (routine locations) with social network data, estimates of relative risk for substance use were generated. The present study collected data among a sample of 301 urban adolescents presenting for routine medical check-ups who were assessed for substance use and personal place-based social network quality, a weighted variable based upon (a) level of substance use by alters, (b) positive or negative activities with alters, and (c) level of influence to use substances or to abstain from substances. Social network quality was anchored in specific locations identified by subjects' weekly routine locations that were self-nominated as safe (absence of risky behaviors), risky (presence of risky behaviors), or favorite (most valued, important). Relative risk was estimated for substance use by social network quality, controlling for age and gender, producing odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results indicate that females aged 13-17 with non-protective social networks were at elevated risk for substance use, particularly at risk were13-14-year-olds with non-protective networks in their favorite place (OR=7.6, CI=1.3-43, p<.01). Males' risk increased with age if they had non-protective networks in their risky place, with 18-20-year-olds at greatest risk (OR=5.5, CI=.99-30, p<.01). Results provide an understanding of the varying affects of place, gender, and age on social network quality and the associated risk for substance use. These findings suggest that place-based social network research may provide a useful ecological approach toward addressing adolescent substance use.

Learning Objectives:
To explain the relationship between adolescentsí personal place-based social networks and substance use.

Keywords: Adolescents, Substance Abuse Prevention

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI of the NIH/NIDA research grant for this paper. I have over 30 peer reviewed papers and numerous research grants focusing on adolescent substance use.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.