Friendship Networks and the Moderating Roles of Family, School, and Neighborhood Context on Initiation of Alcohol Use in Early Adolescence

Michael S. Pollard, RAND Corporation
Harold Green, RAND Corporation
Kayla de la Haye, RAND Corporation
Joan Tucker, RAND Corporation
David P. Kennedy, RAND Corporation

We examine how peer networks in early adolescence are linked to the initiation of alcohol use, and how family, school, and neighborhood contexts moderate the role of peers. We use longitudinal data from The University of Illinois Bullying and Sexual Violence Study (UI-BSV) from 2008-2010 to assess network alcohol use and initiation of alcohol use over five waves of data from grade six until the end of grade eight. We test whether network alcohol use predicts the initiation and timing of alcohol use initiation, and whether support and conflict in three contexts (family, school, and neighborhood) moderate the role of peer alcohol use on initiation. Overall, school social support and family/neighborhood violence predict whether or not youth start drinking. Peer substance use does not predict whether or not early adolescents start drinking, but does shorten the time to initiation for those who do initiate. Positive neighborhood contexts delay drinking initiation.

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Presented in Session 150: Neighborhood, School, and Community Influences on Child and Adolescent Health