Drug Use and Delinquency: Causes of Dropping Out of High School?

Drug Use and Delinquency: Causes of Dropping Out of High School?
Joseph M. Gasper
December 2011

ISBN-13:  978-1-59332-491-9 / Hardcover
Dimensions:  5.5 x 8.5 / xii, 204 pages

Price   $67.00


Gasper examines whether drug use and delinquency contribute to early school leaving and whether the effects differ for poor and middle-class youth. Results suggest that drug use and delinquency add little to explanations of dropout. Rather, drug use, delinquency, and dropout are driven by a process of precocious development rooted in early school failure. Driven by a fundamental dissatisfaction with school, precocious teens are more likely to use drugs, take on a job outside of school, and leave school without a diploma in an effort to gain independence. Dropout prevention should start in middle or elementary school and attempt to interrupt the developmental cycle of failure and problem behavior that culminates in dropout.

About the Author

Joseph M. Gasper is a Research Associate at Westat. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Gasper’s research interests include education, juvenile delinquency, and quantitative methodology. He is currently involved in various evaluation and survey projects. He has written on the effects of mobility on youth outcomes and on the relationship between disengagement and delinquency.