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A cluster -analytic study of adolescent substance use: Investigating the drug -crime relationship

Scott W Whiteford, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Employing the 2001 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, I used cluster analysis to examine adolescent drug use and its relationship to three types of criminal and deviant behavior: self-report crime, criminal arrests, and criminal versatility. I compared the cluster substance use groups to traditional substance use measures found throughout the literature. Using Ward's clustering method, analysis demonstrated that adolescents cluster into five distinct and mutually exclusive groups: abstainers, dabblers, benders, deadeners, and heavyweights. Significant differences were found among the clusters when regressed on age, gender, income subsidies, and race and when used as predictors of the three measures of crime. The substance use clusters method compared favorably to traditional substance use measures, which failed to distinguish among the cluster groups and did not show the distinct non-linear correlation of gender and substance use. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Whiteford, Scott W, "A cluster -analytic study of adolescent substance use: Investigating the drug -crime relationship" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3131567.