or sibling drug use, parental attitudes sympathetic to drug use, and social deprivation.
Parents may confer increased risk of drug abuse on their offspring not only through their genes but also by providing negative role models, and especially by using and abusing drugs as a coping mechanism. Through social learning, children and adolescents internalize the values and expectations of their parents and possibly acquire their maladaptive coping techniques. This has been found to be the case with adolescent cigarette smoking (Isralowitz, 1991) and initiation of marijuana use among adolescents (Bailey and Hubbard, 1990). Further, parental attitudes toward use and abuse also play a role (Barnes and Welte, 1986; Brook et al., 1986b). Among Mexican American adolescents, family influence may have a stronger and more direct positive (or protective) effect than is found among white American youth. This may be particularly true for females and seems to be related to the strength of the family's identification with traditional Hispanic culture (Swaim et al., 1993). African American drug abuse and polydrug abuse may be viewed, in part, as contingency reinforcements for the deprivation of stable family and interpersonal relationships (Brunswick et al., 1992). Among young Native Americans, many of whom are physically isolated on reservations, the primary risk factors for alcohol and illicit drug use are socialization links, family problems, and family dysfunction (Swaim et al., 1989).
Finally, although many family-related factors have been identified as possible risk factors for drug abuse, many of these studies have failed to demonstrate the specificity of parental and familial effects because they do not include comparison groups of parents with other chronic disorders.
The peer environment also makes a substantial contribution to variation in drug use and abuse (Barnes and Welte, 1986; Oetting and Beauvais, 1987a,b, 1990; Oetting and Lynch, in press). Among older adolescents, peers have a greater effect than parents on drug use and abuse among several groups, including whites, African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics (Newcomb and Bentler, 1986). Typically, adolescent drug use takes place within the context of peer clusters that consist of best friends or very close friends (Oetting and Beauvais, 1987a,b). Drug use among friends, deviance, and time spent with drug-using peers are also associated with moderate alcohol and marijuana use (Kandel et al., 1978; Brook et al., 1992). Peer influence on drug use and abuse may occur in a mutually reinforcing pattern based on the tendency for drug-using adolescents to select similar peers (Kandel, 1985). Studies have not yet demonstrated,