The Highs That Bind: School Context, Social Status and Marijuana Use


Vogel, Matt; Rees, Chris E.; McCuddy, Timothy; & Carson, Dena C. (2015). The Highs That Bind: School Context, Social Status and Marijuana Use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. pp. 1-12


Substance use has been closely linked with the structural characteristics of adolescent social networks. Those who drink, smoke, and use drugs typically enjoy an elevated status among their peers. Rates of substance use vary substantially across schools, and indicators of school structure and climate account for at least part of this variation. Emerging research suggests peer-group processes are contingent on school context, but questions remain regarding the school-level mechanisms which condition the influence of network characteristics on substance use. The present study uses multilevel logistic regression models to examine the moderating influence of school connectedness, school drug culture, and global network density on the association between peer network status and marijuana use. The analyses draw on self, peer, and parental data from a sample of 7,548 high-school aged youth nested within 106 schools participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (mean age = 15.2; % white = 59 %; male = 45 %). The results indicate that school connectedness significantly reduces the effect of social status on marijuana use. This provides evidence that school-level mechanisms can reduce the instrumentality of marijuana consumption in the status attainment process in adolescence.




Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal of Youth and Adolescence


Vogel, Matt
Rees, Chris E.
McCuddy, Timothy
Carson, Dena C.

Year Published






Reference ID