198407 Mental Health, School Problems, and Substance Use Among Urban Adolescents: The Mediating Effect of Social Network Quality

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Michael Mason, PhD , Department of Education & Human Services, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
Frank Lawrence, PhD , Statistical Consulting Group, Arlington, VA
Jeremy Mennis, PhD , Department of Geography & Urban Studies, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
J. D. Coatsworth, PhD , Dept of Human Development & Family Studies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Thomas W. Valente, PhD , Department of Preventive Medicine- Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
Patricia Zelenak, RN BSN MSOD , Health Care Center Director, Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
This study tested a meditational model of the relationship of mental health and school problems, social network quality, and substance use in a primary care sample of 301 urban adolescents. We theorized that social network quality would mediate the effects of mental health (internalizing problems and PTSD symptoms) and school problems (attitude to school, attitude to teachers, sensation seeking) on substance use. An interaction variable was created to test the moderating effects of gender by internalizing problems on substance use. Neither the interaction of gender with internalizing problems nor PTSD symptoms was significant with the mediator variable, social network quality. The final model indicated the effect of school problems was completely mediated, showing a sharp decline in influence on substance use from the non-mediated model ( = 0.6, = 7.07, p = 0.01) to the mediated impact ( = 0.01, = 0.28, p = 0.78). Although still statistically significant ( = -0.09, = 2.31, p = 0.02), the effect of internalizing problems on substance use was diminished; the non-mediated effect being approximately 300% larger ( = 0.30, = 2.51, p = 0.01). These findings make a plausible argument that social network quality mediates the effects of school problems and partially mediates the effect of internalizing problems on substance use. The results highlight the role of social network quality in addressing urban adolescent substance use and the associated mental health and school problems.

Learning Objectives:
To demonstrate a meditational model of the relationship of mental health and school problems, social network quality, and substance use in a primary care sample of 301 urban adolescents

Keywords: Substance Abuse Prevention, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI for the NIDA funded study with over 30 publications and multiple grants,and national and international presentation experience.
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.