Precocious transitions and substance use patterns among Mexican American gang members

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Avelardo Valdez
Charles D. Kaplan
Alice Cepeda
Alberto G. Mata


Previous research has found that disorderly life events in early adolescence are associated with problem behaviors in late adolescence and early adulthood. The objective of the study is to determine the patterns of associations among substance use and adolescence precocious transitions in a sample (N=160) of Mexican American gang members in San Antonio, Texas. The Mexican American male gang members are a polydrug using population as measured by their lifetime and current drug use patterns. A correlation and confirmatory factor analysis was conducted between substance use and precocious transitions that revealed two distinct groups of drug users in the Mexican American gang population: "hard" drug users and "party" drug users. Furthermore, factor analysis revealed underlying precocious transitions constructs that go beyond a precocious transitions index. Findings begin to identify the importance of disorderly life events as correlates of substance use among this unique population of gang members.

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