Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kristin Lindahl - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Neena Malik - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Maria Llabre - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Michael Robbins - Committee Member

Fifth Committee Member

Jose Szapocznik - Committee Member


This study was undertaken to evaluate gender differences in predictors of substance use in clinic-referred, Hispanic American adolescents with substance use disorders. Individual (disruptive behavior disorders, depression) and family variables (family conflict, parental monitoring) were evaluated as predictors of the initial level and change over time in marijuana use, and gender was evaluated as a moderator of the associations. The study involved an analysis of an existing dataset of 113 Hispanic American adolescents (93 boys; age 12 to 17) referred for outpatient treatment for substance abuse and their parental guardian. Participants and parental guardians completed questionnaires and a structured interview to report on predictor variables at baseline and marijuana use at baseline and 3-, 6-, 12-, and 18-months post-baseline. Latent growth curve modeling was conducted to evaluate the study hypotheses. Adolescents reported high levels of marijuana use at baseline and relatively stable levels of marijuana use over time. Treatment and gender effects influenced the marijuana use trajectory. Girls exhibited more impaired psychosocial functioning than boys, including worse disruptive behavior problems and depression and lower levels of parental monitoring. Depression was negatively associated with marijuana use longitudinally. Overall, individual and family risk factors are associated with adolescent marijuana use in complex ways. Implications for intervention are discussed.


Substance Use; Adolescent; Hispanic Americans; Growth Curve Modeling