Self-perceived emerging adult status and substance use

Douglas C. Smith, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Leah R. Cleeland, Jordan P. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Very little research exists on how self-perceived emerging adult status is associated with substance use among low-income emerging adults. The Inventory of Dimensions of Emerging Adulthood (IDEA) was administered to emerging adults (EAs) ages 1825 screened for substance use problems (n = l05) in a state-subsidized, not-for-profit treatment agency. We examined whether the defining dimensions of Arnett's (2000a) emerging adulthood theory were associated with substance use frequency and substance-related problems, including: identity exploration, self-focus, possibilities, optimism, negativity/instability, and feeling in-between. In multivariate models, feeling in-between was positively associated with substance-related problems. An interaction term between minority status and feeling inbetween approached statistical significance (p =.057). Further, IDEA scale score means were comparable to those found in college student samples. Implications for theory revision are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)935-941
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Alcohol abuse
  • Developmental psychology
  • Drug abuse
  • Emerging adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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