Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Scott R. Maggard

Committee Member

Dianne C. Carmody

Committee Member

Garland White

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 B65 2014


This study examines the relationship between suffering physical or sexual abuse as a child and drug or alcohol use in adulthood. Data was used from the first three waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health survey. This study found that being a victim of childhood physical abuse can lead to abuse of alcohol later in life. In addition being male and African American are key factors in predicting alcohol abuse and other illegal drug use in adulthood. No significant relationship was found between being a victim of sexual abuse and abusing alcohol, using marijuana, or using any other illegal drugs when controlling for other variables included in the models. Attending counseling sessions was linked to an increased likelihood of adult alcohol abuse, but this association was in the complete multivariate model. This may be indicative of a spurious relationship or that those who needed counseling are those who have been abused the most severely. These findings suggest that physical abuse can lead to alcohol abuse and also that gender and race factors play a key role in this relationship.


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