Stages and Pathways of Drug Involvement: Examining the Gateway Hypothesis

By Denise B. Kandel | Go to book overview

10
Cigarette Use and Drug
Use Progression

Growth Trajectory and Lagged
Effect Hypotheses
Peter M. Bentler, Michael D. Newcomb, and
Marc A. Zimmerman

We propose a new way of thinking conceptually and methodologically about drug use sequences. In terms of biopsychosocial views on drug use, such as Noble's (1996) theory on genetic variations that imply a genetically based differential rewarding effect of alcohol and drug use on the dopamine system, the effect of initial drug use on later drug use can be conceptualized as a sensitizing effect that influences the subsequent growth in use of other substances. Extensive use of a Gateway drug may serve to determine a higher initial level of use of a consequent drug or a faster trend of growth in use of the consequent drug across time. Additionally, a greater rate of growth across time in extent of use of the Gateway drug may itself serve to determine a faster trend of growth in extent of use of the consequent drug. This growth trajectory hypothesis for progression of drug use can be tested with a variant of structural equation modeling known as growth curve modeling. The more traditional cross-lag autoregressive model can be used to study lagged effects of one substance use on another. We compare these two ways of looking at drug use involvement in a sample of 679 African American and White high school youths assessed at three time points. In addition, we cross-validate our results on a previously published data set.

The research reported here was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Grants DA01070 and DA00017. The first study was further supported by NIDA Grant DA07484. The research reported here does not represent the views or policies of NIDA.

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