The existing research aimed at understanding alcohol and drug (AOD) use patterns from early to late adolescence typically does not examine samples with substantial racial and ethnic diversity. This is a critical research gap because studies have suggested that non-white adolescents often have worse health outcomes compared to white adolescents, even with less AOD use. In this paper, we discuss the need for future research on this topic, given demographic shifts in the racial and ethnic composition of the USA. We also outline how this research can provide information on what periods might be most relevant for each racial/ethnic group, and suggest measures that epidemiological studies on early substance use should assess to capture the underlying cultural, acculturation, psychosocial, and contextual factors that explain racial/ethnic differences in AOD trajectories.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.