Objective: The current study longitudinally examined the moderating effects of family involvement, which previous research has shown to be a protective factor against adolescents' substance use involvement, on the associations between internalizing and externalizing problems, respectively, and substance use (alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco) and problems in a unique sample of adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral problems. Method: Adolescents (n. =. 4786) and their parents were assessed at three waves over a 1-year period as part of the SAMHSA funded Comprehensive Community Mental Health Initiative (CMHI). Multilevel growth curve models were estimated using Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) to examine the associations between time-varying internalizing and externalizing problems, respectively, and substance use involvement over time as a function of family involvement at baseline. Results: Results supported the hypothesis that family involvement protects against adolescent substance use involvement by buffering the adverse effects of both internalizing and externalizing problems. Specifically, for alcohol use, family involvement buffered the negative effects of high externalizing problems. For tobacco use, family involvement buffered the negative effects of both internalizing and externalizing problems, respectively. For substance use problems, family involvement buffered the effects of only internalizing problems. Family involvement did not moderate effects of emotional and behavioral problems on marijuana use, however, a significant main effect was observed such that family involvement was negatively related to marijuana use. Conclusions: Results suggest that the beneficial effects of family involvement on at-risk adolescents' substance use involvement are dependent on the type of emotional and behavioral problems the adolescent experiences as well as the type of substance the adolescent uses. Implications for family- and adolescent-focused treatment are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health