A prospective longitudinal model of substance use onset among south african adolescents

Megan E. Patrick, Linda M. Collins, Edward Smith, Linda Caldwell, Alan Flisher, Lisa Wegner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Substance use onset among Colored adolescents between eighth and ninth grades in an urban area of Cape Town, South Africa was examined using latent transition analysis. Longitudinal self-report data regarding substance use (N= 1118, 50.9% female) were collected in 2004 and 2005. Results indicated that the pattern of onset was similar across genders; adolescents first tried either alcohol or cigarettes, followed by both, then dagga (cannabis), and then inhalants. The prevalence of lifetime cigarette use was slightly greater for females; dagga (cannabis) and inhalant use were greater for males. The similarity of developmental onset in the current sample to previous international work supports the promise of adapting prevention programs across contexts. The study's limitations are noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-662
Number of pages16
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number5
StatePublished - Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Linda M. Collins, Ph.D., is Director of the Methodology Center, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and Professor of Statistics, The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Collins’ research program concerns design, measurement, and statistical methodology for the behavioral, social and health sciences. She is particularly interested in analysis of longitudinal data, and research design for building and evaluating behavioral interventions. Her work on methodology has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Science Foundation. She has published in a broad assortment of methodological and substantive journals. Awards include the Cattell Award for outstanding early career contributions to multivariate behavioral research; Penn State’s Faculty Scholar Medal in the Social and Behavioral Sciences; and the President’s Award from the Society for Prevention Research. Dr. Collins is a past president of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society.


  • Adolescent drug use
  • Gateway drugs
  • Gender differences
  • Latent transition analysis
  • South Africa
  • Substance use onset


Dive into the research topics of 'A prospective longitudinal model of substance use onset among south african adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this