The Utility of Locus of Control for Predicting Adolescent Substance Use

Linda Holm Bearinger, Robert William Blum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine the utility of locus of control (LOC) for predicting adolescent substance use. As part of a larger three-wave cohort-sequential study (1983-1989), 155 secondary school-based adolescents completed questionnaires on substance use, personality characteristics, family/peer influences, and health behaviors. Latent variable indicators were developed from the Nowicki-Strickland Personal Reaction Survey and substance use survey items. LOC was a weak predictor of substance use. In two instances were relationships significant: (a) 7th grade LOC predicted 11th grade alcohol use; and, (b) 9th grade LOC correlated with 11th grade cannabis use. Small samples precluded analysis of gender and social class effects. SEM with panel data offers a methodological approach for examining the explanatory capability of LOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-245
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Locus of control
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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