The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood: Changes in Social Activities, Roles, and Beliefs

The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood: Changes in Social Activities, Roles, and Beliefs

The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood: Changes in Social Activities, Roles, and Beliefs

The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood: Changes in Social Activities, Roles, and Beliefs

Synopsis

This book is intended as a thoughtful extension to Bachman et al.'s well-received monograph Smoking, Drinking, and Drug Use in Young Adulthood. That volume showed that the new freedoms of young adulthood lead to increases in substance use, while the responsibilities of adulthood--marriage, pregnancy, parenthood--contribute to declines in substance use. The Decline of Substance Use in Young Adulthood examines how the changes in social and religious experiences and in attitudes toward substance use observed among young adults are related to changes in substance use, family transitions, living arrangements, college experience, and employment. The research uses a variety of analysis techniques and is based on the nationwide Monitoring the Future surveys of more than 38,000 young people followed from high school into adulthood. The research covers the last quarter of the 20th century, a period when drug use and views about drugs underwent many important changes. In spite of these shifts, the overall patterns of relationships reported in this book are impressive in their consistency across time and in their general similarity for men and women. Specific questions addressed include the following: *As young adults experience new freedoms and responsibilities, do their attitudes about drugs change? *Do their religious views and behaviors shift? *Do their new freedoms and responsibilities affect the amount of time they spend in social activities, including going to parties and bars? *And how are any of these changes linked to changes in cigarette use, alcohol use, marijuana use, and cocaine use?

Excerpt

The Monitoring the Future project, which has followed large, nationally representative, and successive cohorts of high school seniors in the United States into their adulthood, is the data source for the results presented in this volume. Beginning with the high school class of 1976, Monitoring the Future has assessed trends in and psychosocial predictors of the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs by young adults. In their earlier works, including a volume published in this series in 1997 (Smoking, Drinking, and Drug Use in Young Adulthood: The Impacts of New Freedoms and New Responsibilities), the investigators examined how the major transitions that typically take place in young adulthood—engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and parenthood—can be linked to significant declines in the use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. Something about making commitments to and being responsible for significant others, whether an intended lifelong partner, a spouse, or a child . . .

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