Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family Consumer Human Development


Scot M. Allgood


One hundred eight individuals between the ages of 17 and 25 completed measures assessing identity style, family functioning, and substance use. Fifty-seven respondents were evaluated as they were applying for services at a local substance abuse treatment center. Fifty-one respondents were surveyed from a local university general education class.

The identity style construct is a self-report measure that evaluates the problem-solving and decision -making strategies of respondents. These constructs echo Marcia's identity statuses with the Normative and Diffuse/Avoidant subscales being utilized in this study. Family functioning was also assessed by self-report and evaluated overall family functioning. A factor analysis of the substance use measure resulted in two factors that were defined as Gateway drugs (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) and Illicit Substances (cocaine, hallucinogens, etc.) and were assessed as either use or nonuse during the last 4 weeks.

Findings support the identity developmental paradigm of problem behavior and suggest that Normative-oriented respondents reported less use of Gateway Drugs and more functional family attributes. Conversely, the Diffuse/Avoidant-oriented respondents reported more use of substances and less functional family attributes.

Difficulties in measurement are presented as well as suggestions for family-based intervention strategies designed to reduce young adult substance use and abuse.