A comparison of causal factors in drug use among Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites Academic Article uri icon


  • Objective. There is general agreement that attachment to parents and to school by adolescents decreases the likelihood of their associating with deviant peers and, subsequently, of their use of illicit drugs. Here, we test the extent to which these linkages are moderated by ethnicity. Method. Data were derived from three waves of an ongoing panel study. Questionnaires were administered to respondents when they were in the seventh and eighth grades in the 1970s and again when they were young adults in the 1980s. Structural equation models were estimated using the EQS program. Results. For non-Hispanic whites, positive school experience but not family warmth had a direct effect in preventing association with peers who use drugs. Among Mexican Americans, in contrast, family warmth but not positive school experience deterred the association with drug-using peers in early adolescence. For both groups, a positive school experience had a direct effect on decrease of young adult drug use. Conclusions. Although stronger parent-child bonds and greater attachment of child to school result in decreased deviance, here measured by young adult drug use, intervening causal linkages regarding deviant peers are moderated by ethnicity.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Murguia, E., Chen, Z. Y., & Kaplan, H. B.

complete list of authors

  • Murguia, E||Chen, ZY||Kaplan, HB

publication date

  • January 1, 1998 11:11 AM