Characteristics of Teen Substance Users: A Data-Driven Learning Guide Go to Resource


Deviant behavior is socially and culturally defined. Behaviors considered deviant in one society may be viewed as quite harmless in another. A behavior may even be defined as deviant when one type of person does it, but not when another type of person does. In the United States, the use of illegal drugs and alcohol is subject to similar socially constructed definitions of deviance. Alcohol use is considered deviant when the user is under the legal drinking age, driving an automobile, or pregnant, but quite acceptable under other conditions. Likewise, some types of illegal drugs are deemed more deviant than others, and the definition varies with the circumstances of use.

Adolescent substance use is of particular importance to researchers and policy makers because adolescence is characterized by a period of physical, emotional, and psychological development, all of which may influence, and be influenced by, substance use.

The goal of this exercise is to explore the characteristics of adolescents who use alcohol and marijuana. Crosstabulations and bar charts will be used.

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
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