Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Stanley S. Robin

Second Advisor

Dr. Joshua Naranjo

Third Advisor

Dr. Ronald Kramer

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Morton Wagenfeld


This dissertation begins with the understanding that behavior is a product of a variegated and complex web of social factors. Bringing this approach to the subfield of adolescent substance use, both substance use itself (alcohol, cigarettes and a broad range of illicit drugs) and the factors that influence such use are viewed as existing within the complex of demographic/structural, social contextual, attitudinal, and behavioral layers of adolescents' social worlds.

The Patterns of Adolescent Substance Use Typology, developed by Stanley S. Robin and me (1992a), is used to categories the overall level and kind of substance use, over time, that adolescents report. The typology consists of seven patterns of use: (1) abstainers, (2) experimenters, (3) reconsiders, (4) switchers, (5) light users, (6) users, and (7) accumulators. A Multidimensional Sociogenic Adolescent Substance Use Model as an original theoretical explanation is developed. This model consists of social variables organized into a series of structural levels. In this model the demographic/structural, social contextual, attitudinal and behavioral layers of social reality are arranged as distal to proximal in their influence on the patterns of substance use: the structural as the most distal and the behavioral as the most proximal. The model also contains social and individual phenomena within each layer of social reality ordered as topically distal to proximal to patterns of substance use.

These data consist of 15,172 eight, tenth and twelfth graders from forty Michigan public school districts which participated in the Michigan Alcohol and Other Drugs School Survey twice at a two year interval, once during the 1989- 90 and again during the 1991-92 academic year.

The research findings strongly support the Patterns of Adolescent Substance Use Typology as correctly and exclusively fitting the vast majority of subjects (93.0 or more percent) into one of the seven patterns of use and as showing increasing levels of involvement over time. The analysis of the Multidimensional Sociogenic Adolescent Substance Use Model as an explanatory model was more weakly supported. Nevertheless, the model predicted patterns of substance use well, explaining between 29% and 55% of the variance in patterns of use. The findings provide increased understanding of adolescent substance use, direction for further research, and implications for education and therapeutic application for adolescents.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access