Relation of peer effects and school climate to substance use among Asian American adolescents.J Adolesc. 2015 Jul; 42:115-27.JA
Using a nationally representative, longitudinal sample of Asian American late adolescents/young adults (ages 18-26), this article investigates the link between peer effects, school climate, on the one hand, and substance use, which includes tobacco, alcohol, and other illicit mood altering substance. The sample (N = 1585) is drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Waves I and III). The study is set to empirically test premises of generational, social capital and stage-environment fit theories. The exploratory variables include individual-level (immigrant generation status, ethnic origin, co-ethnic and co-generational peers - peers from the same immigrant generation) as well as school-level measures (average school socio-economic status and school climate). Multilevel modeling (logistic and negative binomial regression) was used to estimate substance use. Results indicate that preference for co-generational friends is inversely associated with frequency of cannabis and other illicit drug use and preference for co-ethnic peers is inversely associated with other illicit drug use. We also find that school climate is a strong and negative predictor of frequency of cannabis and other illicit drug use as well as of heavy episodic drinking. In terms of policy, these findings suggest that Asian American students should benefit from co-ethnic and co-generational peer networks in schools and, above all, from improving school climate.