Prospective Prediction of Alternative High School Graduation Status at Emerging Adulthood1

Authors

  • Steve Sussman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research University of Southern California
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Steve Sussman, IPR-USC, 1000 S. Fremont Avenue, Unit 8, Building A-4, Alhambra, CA 91803. E-mail: ssussma@hsc.usc.edu
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  • Louise A. Rohrbach,

    1. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research University of Southern California
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  • Silvana Skara,

    1. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research University of Southern California
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  • Clyde W. Dent

    1. Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research University of Southern California
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  • 1

    This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA07601).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Steve Sussman, IPR-USC, 1000 S. Fremont Avenue, Unit 8, Building A-4, Alhambra, CA 91803. E-mail: ssussma@hsc.usc.edu

Abstract

Most studies that examine the prediction of graduation status among teens have examined those who attend regular high schools. The present study reports the prediction of high school graduation status 5 years later among 646 youth who attended alternative (continuation) high schools at baseline. Those youth at baseline who: (a) reported less intention to use soft drugs (cigarettes, alcohol, or marijuana) during the next year; (b) suffered relatively few drug-related consequences during the last year; (c) were relatively less likely to have carried a weapon (knife or gun) in the last year; (d) reported feeling relatively hopeful about the future; and (e) were older were more likely to self-report having graduated continuation high school 5 years later. These results suggest that the consequences of drug use, not drug use per se, other illegal behavior, and a sense of well-being are important predictors of graduation among groups of high-risk teens. Problem behavior and resiliency theories are offered as potential explanations of these findings.

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