Does Neighborhood Context Matter? Evaluating the Impact of Local Characteristics on Substance Use among Youth
Karen A. Snedker, University of Washington
Emily C. Walton, University of Washington
This paper investigates the influence of neighborhood context on adolesecent substance use. Do neighborhood-level variables have a direct and/or moderating effect on adolescent drug involvement or change in substance use net of individual, family, and peer characteristics? To address these questions multiple data sources are linked together. The base dataset comes from the Reconnecting Youth (RY) prevention research studies – a stratified random sample of high school aged youth in the Seattle area. The secondary data comes from the United States Census (poverty and income, unemployment, residential stability, family disruption, racial/ethnic composition and segregation) and the Seattle Police Department (crime). Multilevel techniques are used to explore cross-sectional associations among neighborhood characteristics and drug involvement (measured by frequency of use and scales of control and consequences of use) and longitudinal effects of change in use over a 9-month period (initiation/cessation and change in frequency of alcohol, marijuana, and hard drug use).