The roles of neighborhood social cohesion, peer substance use, and adolescent depression in adolescent substance use

Fei Pei, Yixuan Wang, Qi Wu, Karla Shockley McCarthy, Shiyou Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Scopus citations


    Although studies have increasingly investigated the influences of neighborhood structural factors on adolescent substance use, limited research has discussed the influences of neighborhood process factors. This study examined the role of neighborhood social cohesion in adolescent substance use. We hypothesized that neighborhood social cohesion is associated with decreased adolescent depression and peer substance use, which further affects adolescent substance use. Using structural equation modeling (SEM), we examined the direct and indirect effects of neighborhood social cohesion on adolescent substance use. We also explored the mediation effects of peer substance use and adolescent depression. This secondary data analysis used the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study data. The final sample featured 3112 American adolescents aged 15. Almost half (48.39%) of the participants were female. 9.5% of 15-year-old adolescent reported alcohol use, 1.8% reported smoking cigarettes, and 13.2% reported marijuana use in the past year or month. Findings indicate that social cohesion only indirectly affects adolescent substance use, and peer substance use is a significant mediator of adolescent substance use. Adolescent depression only mediated the relationship between social cohesion and cigarette use. Findings suggest that practitioners should consider the neighborhood environment when treating adolescent substance users.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number104931
    JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
    StatePublished - May 2020


    • Adolescent substance use
    • Depression
    • Peer substance use
    • Social cohesion

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Sociology and Political Science


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