Substance abuse is a major problem confronting adolescents today. One out of every six teenagers suffers from chemical dependency (Thorne & DeBlassie, 1985). Adolescent drug addiction crosses a broad range of backgrounds (Thorne & DeBlassie, 1985) and affects physical, psychological, and social development (Green, 1979). Researchers have attempted to understand the etiology and perpetuation of drug abuse among adolescents but have found no specific causal factors. Rather, studies reveal that abuse is influenced by a "complex, interacting network of sociological, psychological and biological variables" (Barnes, 1977; Campbell, 1983). One area of focus has been the family. Researchers have found a relationship between teenage substance abuse and certain characteristics of the family. A review of the current literature reveals two broad categories of characteristics: family drug usage patterns and family atmosphere.
Family Drug Usage Patterns
Family drug usage is one category that may influence adolescent substance abuse. Table 1 shows that the use of mind-altering chemicals by family member(s) significantly increases the chance that other family members will use drugs (Adler & Lotecka, 1973; Beardslee, Son, & Valliant, 1986; Blum, 1972; Craig & Brown, 1975; Needle, McCubbin, Wilson, Reineck, Lazar, & Mederer, 1986; Tec, 1974; Tolone & Dermott (1975). The overall influence of family members can be seen in the results of a study by Craig and Brown (1975) who found that a high percentage of adolescent substance users reported drug use in the immediate family.
Table 1 Studies of Family Drug Usage Patterns Investigator S(*) NS(**) Finding Tec x positive association between (1974) parent's and children's consumption of drugs x more parental drug use among adolescents who use marijuana regularly than nonusers x less parental drug use among adolescents who are abstainers than regular marijuana users Tolone & x positive relationship between Dermont parental smoking and drinking (1975) habits and adolescent's use of marijuana x no relationship between parental smoking and drinking habits and adolescent's use of hallucinogens x perceived seriousness of parental drinking relates positively to adolescent use of marijuana x perceived seriousness of parental smoking does not relate to adolescent's use of drugs x parental use of sleeping pills and tranquilizers relates positively to adolescent's use of marijuana and somewhat relates to adolescent's use of hallucinogens Craig & x adolescent drug users report more Brown drug users among family (1975) members than nonusing adolescents Needle, x mothers' and fathers' use of McCubbin, drugs does not relate to Wilson, adolescent use Reineck, Lazar, & x older sibling substance use relates Mederer positively to adolescent's use (1986) Adler & x …