Cover: Teachers and Coaches in Adolescent Social Networks Are Associated With Healthier Self-Concept and Decreased Substance Use

Teachers and Coaches in Adolescent Social Networks Are Associated With Healthier Self-Concept and Decreased Substance Use

Published in: Journal of School Health, Volume 87, Issue 1, pages 12-20 (January 2017). doi: 10.1111/josh.12462

Posted on rand.org Jul 20, 2023

by Rebecca N. Dudovitz, Paul J. Chung, Mitchell D. Wong

Background

Poor academic (eg, "I am a bad student") and behavioral (eg, "I am a troublemaker") self-concepts are strongly linked to adolescent substance use. Social networks likely influence self-concept. However, little is understood about the role teachers and athletic coaches play in shaping both academic and behavioral self-concepts.

Methods

We analyzed cross-sectional surveys of 929 9th-12th grade low-income minority adolescents in Los Angeles assessing self-concept, social networks, and 30-day use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. We performed generalized estimating equations, accounting for clustering at the school level and controlling for family and peer influences and contextual factors. We also tested whether self-concept-mediated associations between relationships with teachers or coaches and 30-day substance use.

Results

More perceived teacher support was associated with lower odds of marijuana and other drug use and better academic and behavioral self-concepts. Behavioral self-concept mediated the associations between teacher support and substance use.

Conclusions

By facilitating relationships with adults and improving teachers' capacity to build supportive environments, schools may positively shape how adolescents see themselves, which might help reduce adolescent substance use.

Research conducted by

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