Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

A longitudinal study of substance use and violent victimization in adulthood among a cohort of urban African Americans

TitleA longitudinal study of substance use and violent victimization in adulthood among a cohort of urban African Americans
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDoherty, EE, Robertson, JA, Green, KM, Fothergill, KE, Ensminger, ME
Date PublishedFeb
ISBN Number1360-0443 (Electronic) 0965-2140 (Linking)
Accession NumberWOS:000299156100020
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, African Americans/ statistics & numerical data, Chicago/epidemiology, Crime Victims/psychology/ statistics & numerical data, Female, Humans, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Socioeconomic Factors, Substance-Related Disorders/ epidemiology, Urban Health, Violence/ psychology, Young Adult

AIMS: This paper examines the effects of experiencing violent victimization in young adulthood on pathways of substance use from adolescence to mid-adulthood. DESIGN: Data come from four assessments of an African American community cohort followed longitudinally from age 6 to 42 years. SETTING: The cohort lived in the urban, disadvantaged Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago in 1966. PARTICIPANTS: All first graders from the public and parochial schools were asked to participate (n = 1242). MEASUREMENT: Dependent variables-alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use-came from self-reports at age 42. Young adult violent victimization was reported at age 32, as were acts of violence, substance use, social integration and socio-economic resources. First grade risk factors came from mothers' and teachers' reports; adolescent substance use was self-reported. FINDINGS: Structural equation models indicate a pathway from adolescent substance use to young adult violent victimization for females and those who did not grow up in extreme poverty (betas ranging from 0.15 to 0.20, P < 0.05). In turn, experiencing violent victimization in young adulthood increased alcohol, marijuana and cocaine use, yet results varied by gender and early poverty status (betas ranging from 0.12 to 0.15, P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Violent victimization appears to play an important role in perpetuating substance use among the African American population. However, within-group variations are evident, identifying those who are not raised in extreme poverty as the most negatively affected by violence.