Predicting substance use behavior among South African adolescents: The role of leisure experiences across time
Sharp, Erin Hiley
Caldwell, Linda L.
Smith, Edward A.
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Using seven waves of data, collected twice a year from the 8th through the 11th grades in a low-resource community in Cape Town, South Africa, we aimed to describe the developmental trends in three specific leisure experiences (leisure boredom, new leisure interests, and healthy leisure) and substance use (cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana) behaviors and to investigate the ways in which changes in leisure experiences predict changes in substance use behaviors over time. Results indicated that adolescents’ substance use increased significantly across adolescence, but that leisure experiences remained fairly stable over time. We also found that adolescent leisure experiences predicted baseline substance use and that changes in leisure experiences predicted changes in substance use behaviors over time, with leisure boredom emerging as the most consistent and strongest predictor of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use. Implications for interventions that target time use and leisure experiences are discussed.