Illicit Drug Use, Alcohol Use, and Depression in Young Adulthood as a Consequence of Delinquency Trajectories During Middle Adolescence

Margit Wiesner, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Michael Windle, University of Alabama at Birmingham

This longitudinal study examines young adult outcomes of differing delinquency trajectories during middle adolescence, drawing on data from 1218 male and female adolescents. Three areas of young adult adjustment are explored: Illicit drug use, alcohol use, and depression at about 23-25 years of age, controlling for early precursors of each outcome. Results will illuminate whether different offender trajectory groups show similar detrimental long-term outcomes of their engagement in juvenile delinquency. Participants reported the frequency of engagement in delinquent activity (i.e., violence, property damage, and theft delicts) at four assessment waves, beginning at Grades 10-11. Using the growth mixture modeling methods (M-PLUS), six trajectories of delinquent behavior were identified: abstainers, moderate late peakers, high late peakers, decreasers, chronic moderate level offenders, and chronic high level offenders. Preliminary results suggested significant group differences in young adult adjustment. However, the pattern of group differences, depended on the outcome in question.

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Updated 05/20/2006