Neighborhood disadvantage and adolescent substance use disorder: The moderating role of maltreatment

Elizabeth D. Handley, Fred A. Rogosch, Danielle J. Guild, Dante Cicchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The ecological-transactional model proposes that nested contexts interact to influence development. From this perspective, child maltreatment represents an individual-level risk factor posited to interact with numerous other nested contextual levels, such as the neighborhood environment, to affect development. The aim of this study was to investigate whether adolescents with maltreatment histories represent a vulnerable group for whom disadvantaged neighborhoods confer risk for substance use disorders. Participants were 411 adolescents (age 15-18; mean age ¼ 16.24) from an investigation of the developmental sequelae of childhood maltreatment. Multiple-group structural equation models, controlling for family-level socioeconomic status, indicated that neighborhood disadvantage was associated with more marijuana-dependence symptoms among maltreated but not among non-maltreated adolescents. Moreover, among maltreated adolescents, those who experienced multiple subtypes of maltreatment were at greatest risk for problematic marijuana use in the context of neighborhood disadvantage. Interestingly, the direct effect of neighborhood disadvantage, but not the interaction with maltreatment, was related to adolescent alcohol-dependence symptoms. Results highlight the importance of considering multiple levels of influence when examining risk associated with child maltreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalChild Maltreatment
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Child maltreatment
  • Neighborhood
  • Substance abuse

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