Risk Factors for Substance Misuse and Adolescents' Symptoms of Depression

Sonja E. Siennick, Alex O. Widdowson, Mathew K. Woessner, Mark E. Feinberg, Richard L. Spoth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Purpose Depressive symptoms during adolescence are positively associated with peer-related beliefs, perceptions, and experiences that are known risk factors for substance misuse. These same risk factors are targeted by many universal substance misuse prevention programs. This study examined whether a multicomponent universal substance misuse intervention for middle schoolers reduced the associations between depressive symptoms, these risk factors, and substance misuse. Methods The study used data from a place-randomized trial of the Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience model for delivery of evidence-based substance misuse programs for middle schoolers. Three-level within-person regression models were applied to four waves of survey, and social network data from 636 adolescents followed from sixth through ninth grades. Results When adolescents in control school districts had more symptoms of depression, they believed more strongly that substance use had social benefits, perceived higher levels of substance misuse among their peers and friends, and had more friends who misused substances, although they were not more likely to use substances themselves. Many of the positive associations of depressive symptoms with peer-related risk factors were significantly weaker or not present among adolescents in intervention school districts. Conclusions The Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience interventions reduced the positive associations of adolescent symptoms of depression with peer-related risk factors for substance misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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