Sex Differences in Antecedents of Substance Use Among Adolescents

Margaret E. Ensminger*, C. Hendricks Brown, Sheppard G. Kellam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


This research focuses on sex differences in teenage marijuana, alcohol and cigarette use. The population consisted of the 705 first‐graders of Woodlawn (a poor black Chicago neighborhood) who were assessed in first grade in 1966–1967 and reassessed ten years later. Teenage males reported more use of marijuana and alcohol than females but males and females reported similar use of cigarettes. We examined these sex differences from two theoretical perspectives, social adaptation and social bonds. The former refers to the success or failure of an individual in meeting the social task demands in a specific social field at a specific stage of life. The latter is concerned with the attachment or commitment of an individual to social institutions such as family, school, and peers. Since we found important sex differences in the antecedent, concurrent and mediating variables relating to adolescent substance use, we conclude that further study of substance use should focus on male and female differences, and that at least some of the origins of substance use differ for males and females. 1982 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-42
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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