The Community Substance Use Environment: The Development and Predictive Ability of a Multi-method and Multiple-reporter Measure

J Community Appl Soc Psychol. 2010 Jan 1;20(1):57-71. doi: 10.1002/casp.1014.


This study tested the feasibility and utility of developing a multiple-method and multiple-reporter measure that describes the community substance use environment. Data on community-level norms and availability of substances were reported by 5,261 students and 181 prevention-focused community leaders involved in the 28 PROSPER Project communities between 2002-2005. Additionally, locations of alcohol and tobacco outlets were geocoded. Initially, these four subscales were aggregated to measure the community substance use environment. Analyses demonstrated this measure was associated with community rates of adolescent reported cigarette use, but it was not associated with community rates of adolescent reported alcohol use. Further analyses tested the relative strength of the four different subscales in predicting rates of student use. Implications of these results for the field of community-based prevention are discussed, as well as limitations and future directions.

Keywords: Adolescence; community context; geographic information systems; prevention; risk; substance use.