Are risk and protective factors for substance use consistent across historical time?: national data from the high school classes of 1976 through 1997

Prev Sci. 2001 Mar;2(1):29-43. doi: 10.1023/a:1010034912070.


Researchers have seldom examined whether risk and protective factors are consistently linked to substance use across historical time. Using nationally representative data collected from 22 consecutive cohorts of high school seniors (approximate N = 188,000) from the Monitoring the Future (MTF) project, we investigated whether correlates of substance use changed across historical time. We found a high degree of consistency across historical time in predictors of past month cigarette use, past month alcohol use, past year marijuana use, and past year cocaine use. Some predictors such as religiosity, political beliefs, truancy, and frequent evenings out were consistently linked to substance use. The consistency of other predictors such as region, parental education, and college plans was contingent in part upon historical time period, the particular substance, and its level of use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Time Factors
  • United States