Time Spent on Various Social
and Recreational Activities
Nearly all high school seniors report that typically they “go out for fun and recreation” at least one evening per week, most report doing so two or three evenings, and nearly a quarter go out more often. Going out provides the opportunity to do things with friends, often away from the supervision of parents. For some young people these evenings away from home provide the chance to initiate (and continue) cigarette use. For many more young people, evenings away from home sometimes include consumption of alcohol. And for some individuals, the evenings out provide opportunities for using marijuana, cocaine, or other illicit drugs.
Given that evenings out provide such opportunities for substance use, it is not surprising to find that high school students who spend the most evenings out for fun and recreation are also the most likely to smoke, drink, and use illicit drugs. Indeed, evenings out and substance use are so closely related as to make causal interpretation quite complicated. On one hand, for most high school students being out of the home is a necessary, or at least highly facilitating, condition for substance use. On the other hand, the desire to smoke, drink, or do drugs may be an important reason why some young people choose to spend frequent evenings out “for fun and recreation. ”
In this chapter we explore evenings out for fun and recreation, as well as a number of related activities such as going out on dates, attending parties or other social affairs, visiting bars (or taverns or nightclubs), and getting to