Data from a longitudinal study of males and females tested at ages 15, 18, and 21 years are used to study the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships among 11 problem behaviors and the stability of problem behaviors from middle adolescence to early adulthood. In addition, the author tests how well this cluster of problem behaviors at ages 15 and 18 predicts later drug problems at age 21. Although the data support the existence of a problem behavior syndrome in terms of the clustering of certain problem behaviors at various points in the life cycle, they suggest that the constellation of problems varies by gender. The data also demonstrate that the associations among problem behaviors over time are unstable. Further, the predictors of problem drug use at early periods of development are different from those at later periods and are different for males and females. Thus the focus of drug abuse prevention programs will have to vary by age and gender and programs will need to be aimed at the age and gender appropriate predictors for the target population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology