Home alone: Is it a risk factor for middle school youth and drug use?

Peter F. Mulhall, Donald Stone, Brian Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the relationship between middle school/junior high student latchkey status and early experimentation and use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Students were queried about the frequency (number of times per week) and quantity (number of hours per day) of unsupervised after school days in an average week. Questions were also asked regarding their experiences with 'gateway' drugs, inhalants, and steroids. Chi square analysis was used to test the strength of association. The results of this study indicated that latchkey youth (LKY) who were horne alone two or more days per week were four times more likely to have gotten drunk in the past month than those youth who had parental supervision five or more times a week. Also, significant differences were observed for LKY with respect to cigarette smoking, inhalants, and marijuana use. Other findings and demographic variables were discussed as they pertain to LKY as well as suggested strategies for healthy self-care alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Drug Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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