Paternal Death, Parental Divorce, and Timing of First Substance Use in an Ethnically Diverse Sample

Kelly A. Doran, Nicole K. Watkins, Jennifer C. Duckworth, Mary Waldron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We examined timing of first alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use as a function of paternal death or parental divorce during childhood. Data were drawn from a large ethnically diverse sample, including 4,880 Hispanic, Black, and White children and mothers. Survival analyses were conducted, predicting age at first substance use from parental loss, separately by substance class and child sex and racial/ethnic group. Results confirm risk of early use associated with parental divorce, especially among females, and highlight paternal death as a risk factor for some children. To inform prevention efforts, replication and extension of analyses to identify underlying mechanisms is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-91
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • General Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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