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Title: Drug use and offending : the relationship over the teenage years
Author: Aston, Elizabeth V.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis aims to describe and explain how drug use and offending are linked over the teenage years. This research was conducted in association with the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime, a longitudinal study. I carried out secondary analysis of six sweeps of annual self-report questionnaire data, from age 12 to 17. I also conducted in-depth interviews with 27 cohort members at age 18 to 19. Findings suggest that the relationship between drug use and offending is stronger earlier (as opposed to later) in the teenage years. The social meaning of drug use changes over this period. Early onset drug users described having ‘nothing to do’ and engaged in drug use and offending in street-based peer groups. Those who did not begin using other drugs until later in their teens portrayed their drug use as a legitimate life experience, quite separate from offending. Young people’s drug use and offending can be explained with reference to differential levels of informal social control and peer group interactions. Differential opportunity structures, which change over the course of the teenage years, are shaped by socio-structural positions and informal social controls. It is within the context of peer group interactions that the social acceptability of behaviours may be defined, drug use and offending opportunities occur and decisions are made. Involvement in offending weakens social bonds and deepens involvement in deviant contexts, leading to drug use or further offending. However, ‘turning points’ such as starting one’s own family, gaining employment or changing friendship group facilitate the reduction of involvement in offending and drug use.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available