This paper presents a secondary data analysis that examined how drug use similarity in justice-involved boys' friendship groups relates to their subsequent substance use variety across a period of five years, providing a description of the research methodology, outcomes, and implications for practice.
Adolescents who befriend drug using peers may be at risk for initiated and continued substance use. The present secondary data analysis examined how drug use homophily (i.e., similarity) in justice-involved boys' friendship groups relates to their subsequent substance use variety across a period of five years. Participants were 1216 first-time adolescent offenders (M-age Baseline = 15.29; 100% male). Multilevel model analyses revealed that, among participants who entered the study with a history of substance use, drug use homophily was associated with greater subsequent substance use variety. Among participants who entered the study without a history of substance use, this association was no longer significant. The findings have implications for guiding justice system programming aimed at decreasing adolescent offenders' substance use. (Published Abstract Provided)