Objective: This study examined whether developmental sequences and stages of substance-use initiation and regular use differed and, if so, whether they varied for black and white adolescent males. Method: The analyses were based on a cohort of inner-city boys in the Pittsburgh public schools, who had been followed prospectively from ages 7 to 19 across 18 data waves (N = 412). Results: Blacks were most likely to end initiation of any use and regular use with marijuana, whereas alcohol and tobacco were the most common end stage drugs for whites. Whites were also more likely than blacks to initiate and to become regular users of hard drugs. For both races, the typical developmental sequence for substance-use initiation and regular use was alcohol and/or tobacco, then marijuana, and then hard drugs. However, blacks were more likely to deviate from this sequence than were whites. Participants who initiated any substance use faced a high probability of becoming a regular user of at least one substance. Conclusions: There were differences in the sequences and stages of substance-use initiation and regular use by race. Further research is needed to identify the antecedents of escalation to regular use and progression of regular use across substances and to delineate the cultural and environmental factors that affect substance-use progression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Psychiatry and Mental health