Marijuana is the most prevalent illicit drug used by adolescents and young adults, yet marijuana initiation is rarely studied past adolescence. The present study sought to advance our understanding of parent and peer influences on marijuana exposure opportunity and incident use during college. A sample of 1,253 students was assessed annually for 4 years starting with the summer prior to college entry. More than one-third (38%wt) of students had already used marijuana at least once prior to college entry; another 25%wt initiated use after starting college. Of the 360 students who did not use marijuana prior to college, 74% were offered marijuana during college; of these individuals, 54% initiated marijuana use. Both low levels of parental monitoring during the last year of high school and a high percentage of marijuana-using peers independently predicted marijuana exposure opportunity during college, holding constant demographics and other factors (AOR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.88–0.96, p < .001 and AOR = 1.11, 95% CI = 1.08–1.14, p < .001, respectively). Among individuals with exposure opportunity, peer marijuana use (AOR = 1.04, 95% CI = 1.03–1.05, p < .001), but not parental monitoring, was associated with marijuana initiation. Results underscore that peer influences operate well into late adolescence and young adulthood and thus suggest the need for innovative peer-focused prevention strategies. Parental monitoring during high school appears to influence exposure opportunity in college; thus, parents should be encouraged to sustain rule-setting and communication about adolescent activities and friend selection throughout high school.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 26, 2011
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