The differential effects of strain, control and learning on younger and older adolescents' alcohol and marijuana use
Three major criminological theories of deviance have often been used to describe explanations of adolescent drug use: Social Control Theory, General Strain Theory (GST), and Social Learning Theory. This study aims to explore the differences in the explanations of these three major criminological theories of adolescent drug use based on status as a younger (12-14) or older (15-17) adolescent. A secondary aim is to observe, if any, the differences between how marijuana use and alcohol use can be explained by strain, control and learning. 12 logistic regression models were run to test two dependent variables (marijuana use in the last year and alcohol use in the last year). Social Control models revealed that religious involvement had higher predictive value for younger adolescents. It also had higher predictive value for marijuana. Parental control was found to better predict marijuana and alcohol use in older adolescents. Younger adolescents' alcohol and marijuana use was better explained by GST variables. Older adolescents' alcohol and marijuana use was better explained by Social Learning Theory. Implications of the research findings are discussed.