Several previous studies have investigated the relationship between psychological distress and substance use among youth. However, less research has investigated the potentially protective role of psychological well-being on adolescent substance use, and the extent to which personal competence skills may promote well-being. The present study examined personal competence skills, psychological distress and well-being, and adolescent substance use over a 3-year period in a predominantly minority sample of urban students (N = 1,184) attending 13 junior high schools in New York City. Structural equation modeling indicated that greater competence skills predicted less distress and greater well-being over time. Although psychological well-being was associated with less subsequent substance use, distress did not predict later substance use. Findings indicate that competence skills promote resilience against early stage substance use in part by enhancing psychological well-being, and suggest that school-based prevention programs should include competence enhancement components in order to promote resilience.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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