The relationship between family factors and adolescent substance use in rural, suburban, and urban settings

Scott D. Scheer, Lynne M. Borden, Joseph F. Donnermeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We tested the relationships and predictive power of family factors on rural, suburban, and urban adolescent substance use. A representative statewide survey of 11th grade students for gender, place of residence, and ethnicity was conducted. No significant differences were found between rural, suburban, and urban adolescents for substance use. For family sanction variables across all locations, adolescent substance involvement was significantly lower the more they perceived their families would "stop them" or "care" if they got drunk, smoked cigarettes, or used marijuana. Rural and suburban youth who reported that their parents talked to them about the dangers of smoking and getting drunk were less involved in substance use. While controlling for location, gender, and ethnicity, regression analyses showed that family sanctions against smoking cigarettes and marijuana explained a modest proportion of the variance in substance use. Finally, "family talking about the dangers of cigarettes," "family involvement in schools" and "belief that their families cared about them" predicted lower substance use regardless of location, although minimal variance was explained. The findings have implications for social service providers regarding location settings, prevention, education, and intervention programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The data in this article were collected with the support of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, The Ohio State University, the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, and the Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research, Colorado State University. We thank Michael Gower, Russell Davis, and Jeff Workman for their assistance and three anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions.


  • Adolescents
  • Families
  • Location
  • Substance use


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