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Family and Peer Groups’ Impact on Adolescent Marijuana Use

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Zoann Snyder



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Differential association theory explains that once definitions favoring deviant behavior become in excess of definitions favoring conforming, one is at an increased risk of acting deviant. This study uses survey data collected from high school students in Delaware to test hypotheses derived from differential association theory on student marijuana use.Consistent with theoretical expectations, the logistic regression results show that both parents’ and friends’ attitudes toward drug use as wrong and having a good relationship with one’s parents significantly reduce the likelihood of marijuana use, while living in an unstable home environment significantly increases the odds of marijuana use. Interestingly, results show the lack of a linear relationship between drug use and definitional sources.

Available for download on Saturday, April 18, 2026