Patterns of family and peer relations in drug-abusing African American and Hispanic adolescents

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Blaine Fowers - Committee Chair


Adolescent substance abuse has been linked to a myriad of risk factors with parents and peers emerging as the most prominent influences. The current study examined data on 190 substance-abusing African American and Hispanic adolescents and primary parental figures. A cluster analysis was used to identify unique clusters of family, peer, and parent-peer variables (variables attending to the relationship between the adolescent's parents and his/her peers). Five clusters emerged: (1) Family Split---Adolescent Distressed; (2) Deviant Peer Involvement; (3) Low Conflict/High Involvement; (4) Family Split---Parent Distressed; and (5) High Conflict/Low Involvement. The external validity of the clusters was evaluated using various measures of adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems, as well as parental psychopathology. The clusters differed in meaningful and theoretically sound ways on many of the external validity criteria. The results of this study demonstrate that groups of adolescent substance abusers can be categorized based on clinically relevant variables and that they differ on important individual, parent, and peer characteristics. Clusters were most clearly differentiated by patterns of variability in family conflict, cohesion, monitoring/involvement, and peer delinquency. Treatment implications based on the unique cluster profiles are discussed.


Psychology, Social; Psychology, Clinical

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