Date of Award:

1-1-1996

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Thomas R. Lee

Abstract

The tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use of adolescents was examined to see if any differences existed in the marital status of the adolescent's parents, the quality of family interaction for the adolescent, and the gender of the adolescent. Marital status was defined as intact families where adolescents were living with both biological parents, and nonintact families where adolescents had parents who were single, divorced, widowed, never married, and remarried. Data were from a survey that examined youth issues of 500 adolescents from a rural Utah county. It was hypothesized that marital type and quality of family interaction (family kindness, family hurtfulness, and family communication) would have an effect on adolescent tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use.

Adolescents from intact families differed significantly from those in nonintact families in terms of substance use. This study also illustrated that being from an intact family is not enough to prevent adolescent substance use. Rather, the combination of having an intact family and perceiving family kindness had the greatest deterring effect on substance use among adolescents.

Family kindness had the greatest impact in deterring tobacco and alcohol use. Family hurtfulness, on the other hand, was the strongest indicator of marijuana use. Gender was a factor in only one of the dependent variables, tobacco, with males using more than females.

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