Consequences of Drug Use
Adolescent girls are susceptible to the physical, mental, and sometimes social consequences of substance abuse, especially at a critical time in life when their bodies and brains are still developing.
• Some research shows that marijuana use can precede symptoms of depression. Girls (ages 14-15) who used marijuana daily were five times more likely to face depression at age 21. Daily use in young women was associated with an over fivefold increase in the odds of reporting a state of depression and anxiety. (Patton et al., 2002)
• Girls are more vulnerable to the health consequences of substance use, such as developing symptoms of nicotine addiction faster than boys. (DiFranza et al., 2002)
• Adolescent girls who consume even moderate amounts of alcohol may experience disrupted growth and puberty. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2004)
• A recent study concluded that engaging in sex and using drugs places adolescents, and especially girls, at risk for future depression. (Hallfors et al, 2005)
• It is estimated that teenage girls who binge drink are up to 63 percent more likely to become teen mothers. (Dee, 2001)
• In 2003, approximately one out of four (23.9%) sexually active ninth-grade girls had used alcohol or drugs during their last sexual intercourse. (YRBSS, 2003)
Parents’ Positive Influence
Research shows that parents are the most important influence in their daughters’ decisions about drug use.
• Parental trust is a powerful deterrent to risky behavior among female adolescents. (Borawski, Levers-Landis, Lovegreen, & Trapl, 2003)
• Parental disapproval of drug use plays a strong role in turning back drug use. Youth who felt their parents did not strongly disapprove of marijuana use were about six times as likely to use marijuana as youth who felt their parents would disapprove. (2009 NSDUH)
• Girls appear to be more sensitive to conflict and related issues in the family. When parenting quality declines, or when an adolescent girl is exposed to high levels of negative emotion from parents or other family members, her developing capacities for coping and self-regulation may be overwhelmed by life stressors or challenges. (Call & Mortimer, 2001)
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2009. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Monitoring the Future (MTF), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2002 to 2007.
National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. Formative years: Pathways to substance abuse among girls and young women ages 8-22. Columbia University, New York, NY, 2003.
The Commonwealth Fund survey of the health of adolescent girls, New York: The Commonwealth Fund, 1997.
Donovan, J.E. Gender differences in alcohol involvement in children and adolescents: a review of the literature. In Women and alcohol: Issues for prevention research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Research Monograph No. 32, Bethesda, MD, 1996.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2004. MMWR: CDC Surveillance Summaries 53 (No. SS-2): 75.
Substance Use and Risky Sexual Behavior: Attitudes and Practices Among Adolescents and Young Adults, February 2002, Kaiser Family Foundation.
Flanigan, B., Mclean, A., Hall, C., & Propp, V. (1990). Alcohol use as a situational influence on young women’s pregnancy risk-taking behaviors. Adolescence, 25: 205-214. University of Wisconsin-Madison, School of Social Work 53706.
Pipher, M. Reviving Ophelia: Saving the selves of adolescent girls. New York, NY: Random House, 1994.
Kumpulainen, K., & Roine, S. (2002). Depressive symptoms at the age of 12 years and future heavy alcohol use. Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 425-436.
McCauley, E., Pavlidis, K., & Kendall, K. The depressed child and adolescent: Developmental and clinical perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 1999.
DiFranza, J.R., Savageau, J.A., Rigotti, N.A., Fletcher, K., Ockene, J.K., McNeill, A.D., et al. Development of symptoms of tobacco dependence in youths: 30 month follow up data from the DANDY study. Tobacco Control, 11 (3), 228-235, 2002.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Alcohol Alert No. 62, Alcohol-An Important Women’s Health Issue, July, 2004.
Hallfors, D. et al. Which Comes First in Adolescence—Sex and Drugs or Depression? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29 (3): 163–170, 2005.
Dee., T.S. The effects of minimum legal drinking ages on teen childbearing. The Journal of Human Resources, 36(4), 824-838, 2001.
Patton, G.C. et al. Cannabis use and mental health in young people: cohort study. British Medical Journal, 325:1195-1198, 2002.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2003. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2004. MMWR: CDC Surveillance Summaries 53 (No. SS-2): 1-96.
Borawski, E., Levers-Landis, C., Lovegreen, L., & Trapl, E. Parental monitoring: Negotiated unsupervised time and parental trust: the role of perceived parenting practices in adolescent health risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health, (33): 60-70, 2003.
Call, KT., & Mortimer, JT. Arenas of comfort in adolescence: A study of adjustment in context. Manwah, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2001.
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