The effects of family structure on African American adolescents' marijuana use

Jelani Mandara*, Sheba Y. Rogers, Richard E. Zinbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The relationship between family structure and marijuana use throughout adolescence was assessed among 1,069 African Americans from the NLSY. A model was also tested suggesting that the effects of family structure on marijuana use would be mediated by poverty, neighborhood quality, and adolescents' self-control. As most prior studies have found, family structure was not related to female adolescents' marijuana use. For young men, being raised with both biological parents was associated with less marijuana use throughout adolescence compared to those whose mothers never married, divorced early and never remarried, or divorced and remarried. Some support for the model was also found. We concluded that being raised without the presence of a biological father is a risk factor for marijuana use among young men, but African American young women from single-parent households have unique resources that protect them from marijuana use. Understanding those resources may offer insight into prevention programs for other youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-569
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Adolescence
  • African american
  • Family structure
  • Latent growth curve
  • Marijuana

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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