Early Home Troubles, Lack of Father Figure, May Predict Drug Addiction

Additional analyses in a study of the development of narcotics addiction among urban youth
    • June 30, 1999

Researchers with Friends Research Institute (Baltimore) analyzed data from a 1986 retrospective survey of 255 inner-city male narcotics addicts from Baltimore and 346 never-addicted males in a control group.

Key Findings

  • White addicts reported greater family dysfunction, drug abuse, psychological distress and lack of commitment to life goals during adolescence, than did African-American addicts.

  • During early adolescence, residing with both natural parents appeared to offer young urban males some protection from later addiction.

  • A strong attachment to a father or father figure, and a positive home atmosphere offered similar protection.

  • Urban male narcotic addicts can be distinguished from one another based on early risk factors related to their family, peer associates, proneness toward deviance, psychological status and resilience.