206228 Social moderation of the relation between community violence and alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use in an urban adolescent sample

Monday, November 9, 2009: 5:15 PM

vg I. Kaynak, MSEd , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Job G. Godino, BA , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Stacy N. Davis, MPH , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Wendy Kliewer, PhD , Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Stephen J. Lepore, PhD , Department of Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Adolescents exposed to community violence are at increased risk for illicit substance use. Direct victimization, rather than witnessing community violence tends to be associated with worse outcomes. It is believed that being able to talk with others about traumatic experiences may act as a buffer; however there is growing research that this discussion is not occurring. Social constraints reflect the perception that those exposed to trauma must inhibit themselves from expressing trauma-related thoughts and feelings to others. The present study expands on the limited literature on the effect of social constraints on community violence victimization and alcohol, tobacco and marijuana (ATM) use. The study was conducted in the context of an intervention to reduce the sequelae of community violence exposure in a sample of urban middle school students (n=252, 91% African-American). The most common reports of direct victimization included being slapped, hit or punched (53%), being chased (29%), and being threatened with physical harm (19%). In the past 30 days, 30% of participants used any ATM. Logistic regression showed that participants exposed to community violence victimization were 22% more likely to use ATM (p=.000). An interaction between victimization and social constraints was found to exacerbate ATM use. Among participants with high levels of victimization, use of any ATM was 34% for those with low social constraints, and 54% for those with high social constraints. This research suggests that interventions providing safe outlets for children to describe their thoughts and feelings about violence could mitigate substance use problems.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss social constraints as a moderator of the relation between community violence and adolescent alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Drug Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in public health and a research assistant on an NIMH-funded grant related to adolescent violence exposure.
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.