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Title: Trajectories of substance use and substance use problems in adolescents and young adults
Author: Mak, Hei Wan
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 4323
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis examines the determinants of substance use behaviours and substance use problems at several stages in adolescence and adulthood. Analysis is based on a large, representative US-based longitudinal data set, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). The thesis consists of four linked empirical studies. The first investigates the effects of parental beliefs about their adolescent children’s smoking and drinking on adolescents’ actual engagement in these behaviours. Previous literature has shown a strong association between parental beliefs and adolescent substance use, but has not addressed the issue of causality in this relationship. This chapter attempts to identify causal relationships via propensity score matching techniques. The second study investigates the effects of parenting styles on substance use problems in adulthood. Previous studies have found a significant association between parenting styles and adolescent substance use; I investigate whether this effect persists into adulthood. Using structural equation modelling, I find that parental warmth has long-term effects on substance use in adulthood. Parental control, while reducing the likelihood of initiation in adolescence, does not reduce the incidence of substance use problems in adulthood. The third study focuses on the determinants of substance use cessation, among adults who are smokers, drinkers and users of illicit drugs. The effects of parenting behaviours are relatively modest, but I find that the level of religiosity is an important determinant of cessation. In the final study, I examine the effect of religiosity on cessation and find that religious faith and (particularly) participation in church services and activities increase the likelihood of substance use cessation. Taken together, these studies provide a thorough explanation of the association between parent-adolescent relationships, religiosity, and substance use trajectories. More importantly, the thesis uncovers the underlying mechanisms that explain various stages and levels of substance use at different periods of life.
Supervisor: Iacovou, Maria Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Parenting styles ; Substance use ; Add Health ; Religiosity ; Longitudinal study ; propensity score matching ; structural equation modelling