This study examined the plausibility of the gateway hypothesis to account for drug involvement in a sample of middle school students participating in a drug abuse, prevention trial. Analyses focused on a single prevention approach to exemplify intervention effects on drug progression. Improvements to social competence reduced multiple drug use at 1- and 2-year follow-ups. Specific program effects disrupted drug progression by decreasing alcohol and cigarette use over 1 year and reducing cigarette use over a 2-year period. Controlling for previous drug use, alcohol was integrally involved in the progression to multiple drug use. Subgroup analyses based on distinctions of pretest use/nonuse of alcohol and cigarettes provided partial support for the gateway hypothesis. However, evidence also supported alternate pathways including cigarette use as a starting point for later alcohol and multiple drug use.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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