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Using the 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) data, this research examines the extent to which social bonds and social learning theory predict adolescent marijuana dependence. Full information maximum likelihood (FIML) for logistic regression analyses were conducted in four models to test the competing theories. The results revealed partial support for both theories, such that adolescents with stronger parental bonds and negative definitions of substance use were less likely to be dependent on marijuana, while adolescents who associated with substance using peers were more likely to be dependent on marijuana. The multi-theoretical model suggested that only the social learning theory concepts of differential association and negative definitions were significant theoretical predictors of adolescent marijuana dependence. Additional analyses revealed that first using marijuana at 14 or 15 years old was also significantly related to adolescent marijuana dependence. Implications for future research and risk prevention programs are discussed.


Sydney M Hahlbeck, Anthony G Vito. Adolescent Marijuana Dependence: The Role of Social Bonds and Social Learning Theory. Journal of psychoactive drugs. 2022 Jan-Mar;54(1):43-53

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PMID: 33775242

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