Page images

Dynamically, we have posited that the organismic status is a function of genetic influences as well as psychophysiology and various behavioral and social forces. The dynamic lattice is presented in the figure as causal arrows. While there is residual, or unspecifiable, causation for each of the domains delineated, we have not indicated these in the figure. Specifying the nature of these residual influences is one of the major tasks to be completed in future generations of the present model.

Turning now to the intrapersonal sphere, we have been most concerned with differentiating those systems which comprise psychological status. We distinguish between subsystems of cognition, affect, personality, perception, and consciousness, each of which is a specialty area within the social sciences. Among the dimensions in the personality system that appear relevant to drug taking and its alternatives are extroversion, law abidance, social adjustment, rebelliousness, anxiety, sensation-seeking tendencies, and autonomy and achievement strivings. We should note, parenthetically, that any of several sets of "second order" personality factors are reasonable constructs, in toto, for affecting drug use behavioral styles.

Within the affect subsystem of psychological status, it appears that Tomkins' (1962, 1963) derivation of positive and negative affects and their relationship to cognition, perception, consciousness, and personality may be the most elegant. This theory has already proven useful in differentiating types of cigarette smokers. Constructs which must be considered as the cognition system (or cognitive style) of the individual include the deployment of attention, memory capacity and organization, various intellectual ability skills such as reasoning, hemispheric dominance, and level of cognitive development. Perceptual constructs of interest include attention utilization, figure/ground relationships, distinctiveness, and ambiguity. Within the area of consciousness, it may be fruitful to consider the dimensions of content and structure outlined by Huba (1980) as derived from the theoretical writings of Singer (1975). We realize, of course, that the study of psychological status is a complicated one, encompassing virtually the whole field of psychology, and we do not mean to oversimplify its importance within our diagram. On the other hand, when we try to conceptualize a very specific behavior such as drug use, or even a behavioral style which includes drug use, it may be necessary to use more abstract summaries of other domains so that they might all be included.

lt also seems important to consider the socioeconomic resources of the individual when considering a dependent variable of behavior. Financial resources are a function of the individual's psychological status as well as various social-system variables. Socioeconomic resources, or status, will also have an influence on the individual's psychological status.

Among the interpersonal domains, we differentiate intimate support systems and sociocultural influence systems. We consider the intimate support systems to be family, friends, and significant others for the individual. Among the important aspects of the intimate culture are providing relevant, valued models and reinforcers for various behaviors and a sense of identity and belonging. We believe that the sociocultural influence system is a set of the more distal influences from the culture, including subcultural norms, models, and impersonal socialization influences such as advertising. These influence systems are central to the criminal justice system's belief in the efficacy of demand

reduction methods through modifying the social environment of the drug user.

ln the sociocultural domain, we distinguish social sanctions, social expectations, product availability, and environmental stress. The domain of social sanctions includes such forces as laws, reinforcements or punishments, rituals, trends, fads, prevailing mores, and modal behavior patterns within the society. Within the domain of product availability we would include dimensions of cost and accessibility. While this domain does not appear as a central focus of psychological theories of drug use, the supply reduction strategy of dealing with drug use clearly implicates this domain in a central way as affecting behavioral styles. The domain of environmental stress has recently become one of wide interest. Among the dimensions which might be considered are the controllability, predictability, nature, magnitude, and duration of the stressors.

That most of the domains considered influence one another is something we take as given. Nonetheless, it is important to try to determine when one domain does not influence another strongly, or when some sources of influence are more important than others. While the general model is intended to explain the various stages of drug taking and cessation, we believe that certain domains exert more influence at different stages. For instance, it appears that the influences of the intimate support system may be particularly important in the initiation of drug taking, while organismic status changes due to the drug may account more fully for continued drug ingestion. Additionally, we must ask when trait factors are more important than intimate support system factors in determining drug use, or when affective consequences of drug taking outweigh legal punishments. Therefore, we would welcome individual research groups to include measures of our various domains in order to determine the most important influences and consequences of drug use in a particular population.

ln our current research program on young adolescents and their parents, we are seeking to interrelate the various domains by using structural equation models with latent variables (Bentler 1980) as well as various other hypothesis-testing procedures. These revolutionary new procedures allow the theorist to posit various linkages between the important variables of a model and then to determine, through the use of goodness-of-fit statistics on the data, whether the model is sufficient to test the formulation. ln our early empirical work preliminary to detailed causal modeling, a variety of findings on adolescent drug use emerged. Perceived supply and support for drug use, important characteristics of the intimate culture, seem to be much more important determinants of drug taking than the more general characteristics of the peer culture, which are indicators of the domains of sociocultural influences (Huba et al. 1979a,b). Sources of support and supply seem to be differentiated for various drug-taking styles. ln addition to rebelliousness, personality measures such as liberalism, leadership, extroversion, and the lack of deliberateness and diligence are important predictors of drug use (Wingard et al. 1979a,b). Logical introspection of the costs and benefits of drug use, as reflected in conscious decisions regarding drug use, is not strongly predictive of changes in subsequent use (Huba et al. 1979c, in press; Bentler and Speckart 1979), indicating that behavioral pressures may not be purely logical functions of "objective" pressures. Drug use seems to cluster along lines pharmacologically related to mood alteration as well as legal penalties and availability (Huba et al. 1979d). Not only are drug-related behavioral

styles quite stable in young adults, but previous drug-taking behavior serves as a major predictor of future drug-taking behavior (Huba et al. 1979b; Wingard et al. 1979b). and a behavioral style involving a dangerous drug like PCP is an organized outgrowth from a history of prior substance use (Huba and Bentler 1979).

ln a sample of the mothers of our adolescent sample, Wingard et al. (1979c) have shown that drug use is related to self-perceived organismic status as well as to various personality dimensions. The Wingard et al. (1979c) and Huba et al. (1979c) studies represent early applications of causal models with latent variables to drug use data.

ln the future, our work will consist of integrating various results into the framework of the model shown in figure 1 as we seek to expand, elaborate, and revise the specific causal ideas pictured. lt is our belief that utilizing such a sequential process allows a demonstration of ecological validity for the model by submitting it to periodic tests to establish or refute our specific claims. For example, our model proposes that the intimate support system affects drug use through perceived behavioral pressure, but not directly. Although we have demonstrated that perceived support for use is a major predictor of drug use, we have, as yet, no specific evidence on the mechanism or pathway by which the influence occurs.

A Social-Psychological
Framework for
Studying Drug Use

Richard Jessor, Ph.D.
Shirley Jessor, Ph.D.

The consideration of drug use in the context of a more general socialpsychological framework grew out of a larger interest in exploring the utility of a social-psychological theory of problem behavior and development in youths. Formulated initially to account for deviant behavior, especially heavy alcohol use, in a triethnic community (Jessor et al. 1968), the framework was modified and extended to bear on problem behavior among youths in contemporary American society—drug use; drinking and problem drinking; sexual experience; activist protest; and general deviance, including lying, stealing, and aggression.

The most recent formulation is referred to as "problem behavior theory" (Jessor and Jessor 1977). The theory is made up of specific concepts that are organized into three explanatory systems—personality, environment, and behavioi—interrelated and organized so as to generate a resultant: a dynamic state designated "problem behavior proneness" that has implications for a greater or lesser likelihood of occurrence of problem behavior. When a behavior such as drug use is embedded in such a network of concepts, the theoretical framework makes it possible to see the logical relation of drug use to other behaviors and to variations in personality and environmental characteristics as well.

This paper, prepared by Deborah Willoughby and reviewed by Richard
Jessor, is based largely on three previously published sources. (1) R.
Jessor and S.L. Jessor, Problem Behavior and Psychosocial Development
(New York: Academic Press, 1977), pp. 17-42. (2) R. Jessor and S.L.
Jessor, "Theory Testing in Longitudinal Research on Marijuana Use,"
in Longitudinal Research on Drug Use, ed. D.B. Kandel (Washington,
D.C.: Hemisphere, 1978). (3) R. Jessor, "Marihuana: A Review of
Recent Psychosocial Research," in Handbook on Drug Abuse, eds.
R.L. DuPont, A. Goldstein, and J. O'Donnell (RockvilTe, Md.: National
lnstitute on Drug Abuse, 1979).

The conceptual structure of problem-behavior theory consists, therefore, of the personality system, the perceived-environment system, and the behavior system. The variables in all three of the systems lie at what is essentially a social-psychological level of analysis. The concepts that constitute personality (values, expectations, beliefs, attitudes, orientations toward self and others) are cognitive and reflect social meaning and social experience. The concepts that constitute the environment (supports, influence, controls, models, expectations of others) are those that are amenable to logical coordination with the personality concepts and that represent environmental characteristics capable of being cognized or perceived; that is, they are socially organized dimensions of potential meaning for actors. Behavior, too, is treated from a social-psychological perspective, emphasizing its socially learned purposes, functions, or significance rather than its physical parameters. The actual occurrence of behavior is considered to be the logical outcome of the interaction of personality and environmental influence; in this respect, the formulation represents a socialpsychological field theory, assigning causal priority neither to person nor to situation. A schematic representation of the overall socialpsychological framework appears in figure 1.


ln problem-behavior theory, the personality system is represented by a number of specific variables belonging to three component structures— a motivational-instigation structure, a personal belief structure, and a personal control structure.

The theoretical concern of the variables in the motivational-instigation structure is with the directional orientation of action, that is, with the goals toward which a person strives and with the motivational sources or pressures that instigate particular behaviors. Both the value placed on goals and the expectation of attaining goals have motivational properties that influence whether behavior in the direction of those goals is likely to occur. High value on a goal, for example, the goal of achievement, implies a higher likelihood of action in that direction than does low value.

Among the variety of sociopsychological goals that animate action, three are considered central and salient for school-aged youths and relevant to problem behavior—the goals of academic achievement, independence, and peer affection. The value placed on each of these goals, and the expectation of being able to attain each of them, constitute variables in the motivational-instigation structure. An additional variable represents the relative value placed on the goals of academic achievement and independence, since the relation between these two goals appears to have especially clear and direct consequences for youthful problem behavior.

The theoretical concern of the variables in the personal belief structure is with cognitive controls of a more general nature that are exerted against the occurrence of problem behavior. The variables in this structure refer to those restraints on engaging in nonconformity that originate in a variety of beliefs about self, society, and self in relation to society. The conceptual role of such variables is to constrain against the instigations to engage in problem behavior that derive from the variables in the preceding motivational-instigation structure.

« PreviousContinue »