This article examines a biosocial model of the impact of puberty on indigenous girls' early-onset substance use by considering the potential mediating role of peer context (i.e., mixed-sex peer groups and substance use prototypes) on the puberty and substance use relationship. Data include responses from 360 girls of a common indigenous cultural group residing on reservations/ reserves in the upper Midwest and Canada. Results of structural equation modeling revealed that the statistically significant relationship between girls' pubertal development and early-onset substance use was mediated by both mixed-sex/romantic peer groups and favorable social definitions of substance use. Implications for substance use prevention work include addressing the multiple and overlapping effects of peer influence from culturally relevant perspectives.
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- American Indians/Native Americans
- adolescent peers
- substance use