Pathways linking family stress to youth delinquency and substance use: Exploring the mediating roles of self-efficacy and future orientation

J Health Psychol. 2020 Feb;25(2):139-151. doi: 10.1177/1359105318763992. Epub 2018 Mar 24.


African American adolescents in poorer neighborhoods experience significant sanctions related to drug use and delinquency. Parental stress (i.e. substance use, mental distress, and incarceration) is associated with youth drug use and delinquency. We examined whether high self-esteem and positive future orientation mediated parental stress and youth substance use and delinquency. Demographic, family stress, future orientation, self-esteem, and drug use data were collected from 578 youths. Major findings indicated that self-esteem mediated the relationship between family stress and both drug use and delinquency. Future mediated the relationship between family stress and delinquency. Resiliency factors may promote positive development for low-income youth.

Keywords: adolescence; binge drinking; community; health psychology; mediator; youth.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Binge Drinking
  • Black or African American*
  • Child
  • Family Relations / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency*
  • Male
  • Poverty
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Stress, Psychological*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult