Prior research has produced what, at surface, appears to be paradoxical findings regarding race/ethnic differences in the relationship between social stress and substance use. Despite exposure to higher levels of stress and adversity, Blacks are less likely to report drug use compared to their White counterparts, suggesting that their stress exposure may be unrelated to substance use. We revisit this issue by analyzing data from a South Florida-based sample of 426 male youths. Using multiple group analyses, results indicate that stress exposure increases risk of drug use for Blacks and Whites; however, the magnitude of these linkages varied by race. We find that stress exposure was related to substance use among Black youths, and that these linkages explained more variance in alcohol and marijuana use compared to White youths. Findings suggest a continued effort in the development and implementation of social interventions aimed at reducing the environmental and social structural correlates of adolescent drug use.
- stress exposure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health