Multisystemic influences on substance use behavior among internalizing and externalizing Hispanic adolescents

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Donald K. Routh - Committee Chair


Longitudinal and cross-sectional analyses were used to investigate the development of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use in adolescents. The sample was predominantly immigrant Hispanic adolescents from a high-density, impoverished neighborhood of Miami. The cross-sectional samples of 566 6th grade students and 547 8th grade students yielded a longitudinal sample of 238 adolescents. The pathways toward negative developmental outcomes were evaluated with respect to depressive symptoms, conduct disorder behaviors, the number of substance using peers, substance use by adults important to the youth, and the amount of perceived family support. Adolescents self-reported internalizing symptoms of depression, rates of drug involvement for themselves, for peers, and for adults. Parents reported externalizing symptoms of conduct disorder. Adolescents with increased levels of either intrapersonal risk factor demonstrated significantly greater alcohol use two years later than their peers. Increased levels of conduct disorder behavior were also associated with increased numbers of tobacco and marijuana using peers, while greater depressive symptoms predicted more alcohol and marijuana using peers. Increased substance use by adults important to the adolescent longitudinally predicted greater adolescent substance use; peer modeling did not predict any type of adolescent substance use over time. Family support was associated with decreased substance use, after controlling for depressive symptoms or conduct disorder behaviors. However, high levels of family support were not able to reduce the number of alcohol or tobacco using peers for adolescents with elevated conduct disorder or depressive symptoms.


Psychology, Clinical; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text