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Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse


Although research has identified numerous neighborhood mechanisms influencing urban adolescent risk behaviors, less is known about how community contexts influence rural adolescents. This study explores perceived controls against adolescent drinking (i.e., tolerance of community adolescent alcohol use), adolescent perceptions of community supportiveness, and the prevalence of community alcohol use exhibited by adolescents and adults. Multilevel analyses were applied to 1,424 sixth- through eighth-grade students residing in 22 rural communities in the Northern Plains. Perceptions of tolerance, prevalence, and support from 790 parents, teachers, and community leaders were also collected. Analyses revealed that community supportiveness and controls against drinking reduced both the decision to try alcohol and past-month use among early adolescents. Adolescents were more likely to have ever tried alcohol if they lived in a community with higher peer prevalence than higher levels of adult alcohol prevalence, but in communities where peer drinking was lower; adolescents were more likely to have tried alcohol if they lived in a high adult-prevalence community. Perceived peer drinking was not related to past-month use.

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