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Much of the previous research pertaining to Problem Substance Use has examined genetic predisposition or personality traits associated with substance abuse or dependence. The current research examines a possible relationship between social exclusion and problem substance use. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (waves 1-3), I explore several indicators of social exclusion in adolescence, and examine how they may predict the onset of substance use problems by early adulthood. As discussed herein, there is evidence that suggests that adolescents who are rejected or excluded from normative peer groups are more likely to gravitate towards deviant peer groups, socialize with peers who abuse substances more frequently, and eventually experience more substance use problems in early adulthood. Implications of the current study could contribute to our understanding of environmental influences on adolescent substance use, as well as inform future prevention efforts.
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