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Drug Use and Sexual Behavior: A Syndrome Among Adolescents?

NCJ Number
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 17 Issue: 3 Dated: 1999 Pages: 25-35
Robert F. Corwyn M.A.; Brent Benda Ph.D.; Robert L. Clowers Ph.D.; Yuxiang Liu Ed.D.
Date Published
11 pages
This study used log-linear procedures to determine how much overlap there was in a juvenile sample's (n=1,626) participation in smoking cigarettes, getting drunk on alcohol, use of marijuana, and having had sexual intercourse.
The sample was drawn from 13 public schools in a southern metropolitan area. Approximately 25 percent of the classrooms were selected to ensure a representative sample of the student population and to provide a large enough sample to detect relationships among various patterns of behavior. One of the purposes of the study was to test the theory of the "problem syndrome." Researchers have consistently found significant associations between using alcohol and other drugs and sexual intercourse among adolescents. These statistical relationships have led many influential writers to argue that all forms of delinquency, including all types of drug use, are behavioral manifestations of one underlying "problem syndrome." Additionally, proponents of the "problem syndrome" argument propose that the same set of factors, or theoretical model, can explain all types of adolescent delinquency, including cigarette smoking, alcohol use, marijuana use, and sexual intercourse. The findings of the current study provide equivocal support for the "problem syndrome" argument. Whereas, log-linear analysis shows statistically significant relationships among all forms of behavior examined, it also selected the relationships among alcohol consumption, use of marijuana, and sexual intercourse as the best set of relationships to represent the data. Using statistical criteria, smoking was not shown to be a necessary aspect of the syndrome. 2 tables and 43 references