Authors: Sashawn Lawrence, Micah E. Johnson P.h.D
Faculty Mentor: Micah E. Johnson P.h.D
College: College of Public Health and Health Professions
Drug overdose related deaths among adolescents have increased in recent years, and evidence suggests that justice-involved children (JIC) have higher risks. The current opioid epidemic has provoked interests in the predictors of opioid misuse (OM) initiation among JIC. By the age of 16, many adolescents become involved in romantic relationships, which play a major role in identity formation. This study investigates whether having an antisocial or prosocial romantic partner increases risk of past-30 day (P30D) OM. Compared to those who were not involved in a romantic relationship, JIC who had antisocial romantic partners at first screen were 2.48 times as likely to meet criteria for P30D OM at final screen while adjusting for covariates. Surprisingly, JIC in prosocial relationships were 1.3 times as likely to meet criteria for P30D OM as those who were not involved in a romantic relationship. However, JIC with antisocial partners were twice as likely as those with prosocial partners to meet criteria for past-30 day OM. Antisocial romantic partners are an important risk factor for adolescent OM. Stakeholders should collaborate with youth to develop strategies to foster prosocial romantic relationships and social networks among high-risk youth.