Purpose: We examined rural-urban differences in cumulative risk for youth substance use. A recent report [National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) 2000] found that the rural-urban distribution of substance use and known risk factors for substance use differed; in many cases rural youth showed higher levels of use, as well as higher levels of risk factors. The current investigation, while not directly examining substance use, further examined rural-urban differences in the distribution of risk factors for youth substance use, based on information from parent reports.
Method: Study 1 data were collected from a random sample of Midwestern parents (n = 339) with a young adolescent between the ages of 11 and 13 years. Study 2 data were collected from a second sample of Midwestern parents (n = 593).
Results: Analyses of rural-urban comparisons demonstrated higher levels of cumulative risk among rural youth. An evaluation of the sensitivity of the analysis to rural-urban classification schemes indicated that the findings were robust, but that there was some minor variation in rural-urban differences by classification scheme.
Implications: Results contribute to an explanation of findings from earlier reports of rural-urban differences in substance use, and suggest directions for future research on rural-urban distributions of youth risk factors.