Assistant Professor
Division of General Pediatrics

Project Title: Understanding the Relationship between Adolescent Identity and Substance Use

Paul Chung, MD, MS - UCLA
Mitchell Wong, MD, PhD - UCLA
Gery Ryan, PhD – RAND
Chi-Hong Tseng, PhD - UCLA

Multidisciplinary Expertise:
General Pediatrics, School Health, Substance Use Prevention, Health Services Research

Project description:  
This project examines how self-concept, a potentially modifiable predictor of substance use, might be harnessed to prevent adolescent substance use. Using a mixed methods approach, we will first identify individual, family, peer and school-level predictors of healthy self-concept using cross-sectional survey data from 933 at-risk adolescents. In phase II, we will conduct semi-structured interviews with 40 high-risk adolescents to understand how different aspects of self-concept relate to substance use. We will use these findings to develop additional identity-related measures specific to risky health behaviors and examine their utility with current self-concept scales. In phase III, we make use of the first 3 waves of a longitudinal survey following 960 low-income adolescents from the end of 8th grade through the end of 10th grade to determine whether exposure to highly supportive schools impacts self-concept and whether changes in self-concept predict changes in substance use over time.