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Young Adults' Perceptions of an Adolescent's Use of Marijuana and Alcohol

NCJ Number
Journal of Drug Education Volume: 42 Issue: 4 Dated: 2012 Pages: 413-424
Laura A. Nabors; Michael D. Brubaker; Sarah Hoffman; Halley Shipley; Jordan Pangallo; Amanda Strong
Date Published
12 pages
This study examined adolescent substance use.
Adolescent substance use is a serious problem often invoking negative reactions. The current study extends the literature in this area. A total of 425 college students read one of five vignettes, each of which described an adolescent who used marijuana, hard liquor, or drank an occasional beer (control) and who had received or not received treatment. Participants responded to questions assessing acceptance, willingness to help, and beliefs about the adolescent's academic functioning. Students provided higher acceptance of the adolescent who drank an occasional beer compared to the one who had received treatment for alcohol use and the one who was using marijuana, but did not receive treatment. Results differed based on question type, suggesting that interpretation of stigma is complex and that context plays a role in understanding perceptions. Future research, focusing on reasons for differences in judgments across contexts, will provide new information. (Published Abstract)