Rural-urban differences in substance use among African-American adolescents

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Gibbons, Frederick
Reimer, Rachel
Gerrard, Meg
Yeh, Hsiu-Chen
Houlihan, Amy
Simons, Ron
Brody, Gene
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Cutrona, Carolyn
Distinguished Professor
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The Department of Psychology may prepare students with a liberal study, or for work in academia or professional education for law or health-services. Graduates will be able to apply the scientific method to human behavior and mental processes, as well as have ample knowledge of psychological theory and method.
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Human Development and Family Studies

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies focuses on the interactions among individuals, families, and their resources and environments throughout their lifespans. It consists of three majors: Child, Adult, and Family Services (preparing students to work for agencies serving children, youth, adults, and families); Family Finance, Housing, and Policy (preparing students for work as financial counselors, insurance agents, loan-officers, lobbyists, policy experts, etc); and Early Childhood Education (preparing students to teach and work with young children and their families).


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies was formed in 1991 from the merger of the Department of Family Environment and the Department of Child Development.

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  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Child Development (predecessor)
  • Department of Family Environment (predecessor)

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Purpose: To examine substance use differences among African‐American adolescents living in rural and more urban areas in Iowa and Georgia and factors thought to be related to those differences. Specifically, negative affect and perceived availability were examined as mediators of the relation between community size and alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Methods: In‐home interviews with the adolescents (Time 1: N = 897, Mean age = 10.5) assessed their use, perceived substance availability, and negative affect across 3 waves. Their parents’ use was also assessed. Census data were used to determine community size (rural ≤ 2,500; urban ≥ 2,500). Findings: Perceived substance availability and use were both higher among the more urban adolescents. As expected, negative affect was a primary antecedent to use at each wave. Structural Equation Modeling indicated that the relation between population and use was mediated by perceived availability of the substances. Additional multigroup analyses indicated that the relations between negative affect and use were significantly stronger among the urban adolescents at all waves. Conclusions: Results suggest that stress or negative affect is an important antecedent to use among African‐American adolescents, especially when it occurs at an early age, but living in rural areas may be a buffer for both problems, in part, because exposure to this type of risk is lower in these environments.


This is the peer-reviewed version of the following article: Gibbons, Frederick X., Rachel A. Reimer, Meg Gerrard, Hsiu‐Chen Yeh, Amy E. Houlihan, Carolyn Cutrona, Ron Simons, and Gene Brody. "Rural‐urban differences in substance use among African‐American adolescents." The Journal of Rural Health 23 (2007): 22-28., which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2007.00120.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving. Posted with permission.

Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2007