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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Paul A. Toro


The primary purpose of this study was to examine change across key outcomes of substance use, psychological distress, physical health symptoms, and deviant behaviors in an at-risk sample from adolescence into emerging adulthood. A number of predictors were identified based on models of development, including the Social Interactionist Model, the Risk Amplification Model, and the role of self-efficacy. A sample of 401 (n=251 homeless adolescents) at-risk adolescents from the metropolitan Detroit area were recruited between 1997-2000 and followed for up to seven years. Multilevel modeling was used to examine baseline predictors of change in each of the four outcomes, to examine the time-varying effects of family environment factors and peer associations, and to test the moderating effect of self-efficacy on the relationships between early contextual family factors on key outcomes in emerging adulthood. Alcohol symptoms increased linearly over time. Changes in alcohol symptom count over time were predicted by being male, white, and endorsing a greater proportion of deviant peer relationships and conduct disorder symptoms at baseline. Interestingly, psychological distress ratings measured with a global severity rating of distress decreased over time. Homeless status, parental monitoring and conduct disorder symptoms were significant in the overall model, while change among females increased over time compared to males. Physical health symptoms were predicted by being female, lower parental monitoring, and greater conduct disorder symptoms. Illegal behaviors were predicted by being male and having greater conduct disorder symptoms. The second aim sought to explore time-varying associations of family conflict and deviant peer associations on each of the four outcomes. Both variables were significant predictors for change in alcohol symptoms, psychological distress, and physical health symptoms. However, illegal behavior change was predicted by family conflict but not change in deviant peer associations. The results from the third study aim failed to support self-efficacy as a moderator between parental deviance and any of the outcomes. Specifically, levels of self-efficacy failed to moderate the relationship between parental deviance with alcohol symptoms, psychological distress, physical health symptoms and illegal behaviors in adulthood. Increasing our understanding of trajectories toward negative outcomes is an important first step to developing prevention and intervention strategies to improve outcomes and reduce costs to society.

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