skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 229080 Find in a Library
Title: Street Youth, Relational Strain, and Drug Use
Journal: Journal of Drug Issues  Volume:39  Issue:3  Dated:Summer 2009  Pages:523-546
Author(s): Owen Gallupe; Stephen W. Baron
Date Published: 2009
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using data from interviews with 300 street youths in Toronto, Canada, this study drew on general strain theory in examining the influence of "relational" strains on street youths' use of soft and hard drugs.
Abstract: Findings indicate that the loss of quality girlfriend/boyfriend relationships while on the street, as well as the number of relationships terminated by death, were linked with soft drug use. Histories of physical abuse and criminal victimization by peers, on the other hand, influenced street youths' use of hard drugs. In addition, the effects of various forms of relational strain on hard drug use were conditioned by low self-esteem, delinquent peers, deviant values, and low self-efficacy. In contrast, the link between forms of relational strain and soft drug use were conditioned by greater self-esteem and fewer delinquent peers. It may be that the lack of criminal peers reduces youths' access to harder drugs, making them more likely to rely on soft drugs in coping with their strain. Also, greater self-esteem may be a buffer against them using harder drugs in coping with strain. The findings suggest that parenting interventions are likely to minimize the incidence of relational strain by teaching parents how to create positive family environments. For youths who do turn to the street, counseling programs should aim at minimizing the impact of relational strain. A youth's peer group and personal beliefs must also be addressed in counseling. Interview data were collected between June 2005 and January 2006. Youths were interviewed on the streets, in shelters, and at drop-in centers. Boys composed 65 percent of the sample. Drug-use variables were measured using 1-year frequency items. Four broad forms of relational strain encompassed the number of lost relationships, the quality of lost relationships, victimization by street friends, and background factors. 5 tables, 4 notes, and 39 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile drug use
Index Term(s): Canada; Drug abuse causes; Foreign criminal justice research; Homeless persons; Peer influences on behavior; Runaways; Social conditions; Strain theory
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.