The South African context is one of high risk for adolescent substance use and delinquency. The post-Apartheid environment consists of major political, economic, and social changes, discrimination and increasing violence. It is important to understand how adolescent substance use and delinquency develop independently as well as how these behaviors co-occur in this context. The current study will uniquely contribute to research on substance use and delinquent behaviors among South African adolescents, and in particular, on their methamphetamine use. The research study aims to identify latent classes (subgroups) of co-occurring adolescent substance users and delinquents and to examine how these subgroups change over time. Results of the current study have two major implications for prevention research and public health. First, better understanding of how adolescent substance use and delinquency occur in South Africa may inform the theory underlying the design of prevention programs in high risk contexts in other parts of South Africa. Second, using a person-oriented approach toward the study of adolescent substance use and delinquency may provide unique insight into possible subgroups of adolescents, affecting whether programs choose to target specific risk behaviors versus multiple risk behaviors.

Public Health Relevance

The application of innovative statistical methods may be one way to better understand co-occurring adolescent substance use and delinquency.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Type
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
Project #
5F31DA028155-03
Application #
8246494
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-K (29))
Program Officer
Hartsock, Peter
Project Start
2010-04-01
Project End
2012-11-06
Budget Start
2012-04-01
Budget End
2012-11-06
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$28,907
Indirect Cost
Name
Pennsylvania State University
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Allied Health Profes
DUNS #
003403953
City
University Park
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
16802
Lai, Mary H; Graham, John W; Smith, Edward A et al. (2013) Linking Life Skills and Norms With Adolescent Substance Use and Delinquency in South Africa. J Res Adolesc 23:128-137