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Out-of-School Time and Adolescent Substance Use

  • Author(s): Lee, KTH
  • Vandell, DL
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2015 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. Purpose: High levels of adolescent substance use are linked to lower academic achievement, reduced schooling, and delinquency. We assess four types of out-of-school time (OST) contexts-unsupervised time with peers, sports, organized activities, and paid employment-in relation to tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use at the end of high school. Other research has examined these OST contexts in isolation, limiting efforts to disentangle potentially confounded relations. Methods: Longitudinal data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N= 766) examined associations between different OST contexts during high school and substance use at the end of high school. Results: Unsupervised time with peers increased the odds of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, whereas sports increased the odds of alcohol use and decreased the odds of marijuana use. Paid employment increased the odds of tobacco and alcohol use. Unsupervised time with peers predicted increased amounts of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, whereas sports predicted decreased amounts of tobacco and marijuana use and increased amounts of alcohol use at the end of high school. Conclusions: Although unsupervised time with peers, sports, and paid employment were differentially linked to the odds of substance use, only unsupervised time with peers and sports were significantly associated with the amounts of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use at the end of high school. These findings underscore the value of considering OST contexts in relation to strategies to promote adolescent health. Reducing unsupervised time with peers and increasing sports participation may have positive impacts on reducing substance use.

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