Socioenvironmental Risk Factors for Adolescent Marijuana Use in a United States-Mexico Border Community

Elizabeth Salerno Valdez, Luis Valdez, Josephine Korchmaros, David O. Garcia, Sally Stevens, Samantha Sabo, Scott Carvajal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: We examined how socioenvironmental risk factors unique to the United States-Mexico border, defined as border community and immigration stress, normalization of drug trafficking, and perceived disordered neighborhood stress, contribute to tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use among adolescents residing there. Design: Cross-sectional design. Setting: The study was conducted at a high school on the United States-Mexico border. Subjects: A sample of 445 primarily Hispanic students (ages 14-18). Measure: Perceived Disordered Neighborhood Stress Scale, Border Community and Immigration Stress Scale, and Normalization of Drug Trafficking Scale. Analysis: Logistic regression assessed the association between the socioenvironmental risk factors and past 30-day tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. Results: Participants with higher border community and immigration stress scores were significantly more likely to have used tobacco (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.41, P <.01) and alcohol (aOR = 1.31, P <.01) in the past 30 days. Perceived disordered neighborhood stress also was associated with past 30-day alcohol use (aOR = 1.46, P <.00). The normalization of drug trafficking was associated with past 30-day marijuana use (aOR = 1.45, P <.05). Conclusions: Public health practitioners, educational institutions, and policy makers should consider the economic and normative environment of the United States-Mexico border for future substance use prevention and risk reduction efforts targeting border adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • United States-Mexico border
  • adolescents
  • age specific
  • psychometric analysis
  • racial minority groups
  • research methods
  • school
  • specific populations
  • specific populations
  • specific settings
  • substance use
  • underserved populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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