Date of Last Revision

2017-04-28 07:45:42


Sociology - Criminology and Law Enforcement

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2017


As illicit drug use has steadily increased over the last decade, marijuana use has become much more prevalent among a variety of age groups. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 8.6 million adolescents and young adults (age 12-25) use marijuana. This is significant as prior studies have found that marijuana use has damaging effects on the brain, especially teens whose brains are still developing. In order to gain a better understanding as to why individuals engage in marijuana use and how it may act as a coping mechanism, this study looks at how sources of strain (socioeconomic status, academic success, and relationship with parent/guardian) affect individuals (age 16-20) chances of using marijuana. This study uses logistic regression as the method for analyzing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-1997 and draws from Robert Agnew’s general strain theory. The study finds that greater academic success predicts a decrease in marijuana use, a better relationship with a parent/guardian predicts a decrease in marijuana use, and males are much more likely (37-59%) to use marijuana than females. Although socioeconomic status was significant in predicting marijuana use, the coefficient is so small in magnitude that it is not clear if SES matters. This study gives us a better understanding of the impact of strain caused by academic success, and how teens use marijuana as a coping mechanism to strain. Future research should be done to further explore the impact that strain has on teen lives and how marijuana acts as a coping mechanism. In addition, research on the impacts of other sources of strain can further our understanding of why teenagers engage in drug use.

Research Sponsor

Dr. Adrianne Frech

First Reader

Dr. Matthew Lee

Second Reader

Rania Issa

Included in

Criminology Commons



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